Last Updated: Feb 15, 2017     Views: 4003

How did it work?

  • Patrons returned any undamaged, overdue library materials to the circulation desk or book drops at any of SFPL’s 27 branches or the Main.
  • SFPL waived the fines. 
  • If a patron’s library card had been suspended because of overdue fines, it was reactivated.

Who was eligible?

All cardholders were eligible to have their overdue fines forgiven for items returned January 3 – February 14, 2017.

Did you waive fines forgiven for others?

Yes, if a patron had that person’s materials in hand, or if they were a sponsor or authorized user on that person’s library account.

Where were materials returned?

Overdue materials accepted at library circulation desks or book drops.

Could patrons call the library and ask to have their past fines cleared?

If the items had already been returned, yes.  If not, patrons were asked to bring overdue items to their local library during the six week period.

Which fines were cleared?

In addition to clearing the overdue fines for material returned, all other fines on a record were cleared including overdue fines for materials that had been previously returned.

What items and fees were not eligible during Fine Forgiveness?

Items and fees not eligible:

  • Overdue or lost materials that had not been returned or replaced
  • Damaged and unusable items
  • Items from other library systems
  • Items owned by other institutions, such as ILL/Link+, that SFPL has paid the replacement value for

What if a patron lost or damaged an item?

Unfortunately, we are not able to forgive charges on an account for a lost or damaged item. However, patrons could pay the replacement cost or physically replace the item and then have all overdue fees waived for this item during the fine forgiveness program.

Has SFPL held a fine forgiveness program before? 

Yes, in 2009 and 2001. The last time SFPL offered a fine forgiveness program, the library collected more than 30,000 items and forgave more than $55,000 in fines. Stay tuned for updates on the results of the 2017 fine forgiveness program.

What are the goals of the fine forgiveness program?

The fine forgiveness program is an opportunity for residents to reconnect with their library. The program allows San Francisco Public Library to recover materials and gives patrons with overdue items a clear record. The program aligns with the Library’s commitment to eliminating barriers to service and providing basic access for all San Franciscans, especially those most in need of library services.

What are the desired outcomes?

Stay tuned for more results on the 2017 fine forgiveness program and check out a display of the most overdue items in the Main.

If you have any questions about the fine forgiveness program, please speak to a SFPL library staff or contact us at (415) 557-4400.

Share your #fineforgiveness experience with us on social media, and #manyhappyreturns!

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