Fine Free

The Nashua Public Library is kicking off 2023 with a historic change in its borrowing policy. Starting on January 1, 2023, the library will no longer charge or collect fines on overdue items. All past overdue fees in current accounts have also been forgiven.


Checking out Items in the Fine-Free Era

Items you check out from the library will still have a due date.

If you keep your item beyond its due date, we will automatically renew the item for you twice. *The only exception to this is if another customer has a hold on your item.

47 days after your last due date, our system will mark this item as lost. If you have the item, return it and you won’t be charged.


Fine-Free Exceptions

Customers will still incur fees for lost or damaged items. Overdue fees will still be collected for some Inter-Library Loan materials.

The library has a strict no refund policy for items paid for and then later returned. We encourage you to return any lost items and only pay for them if you’re sure it’s lost.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why did you remove overdue fines?

Equity & Access – Overdue fines create a barrier to library use, especially for people with lower incomes and neurodivergent folks. Equal access to library materials and services is a core value of our library.

Fines Don’t Work – We researched data from around the country that showed overdue fines don’t make people bring back an item. In fact, some library data shows that eliminating fines results in an increased return of materials.

Your Experience Here – We’re on a mission to create a welcoming environment for everyone. Even though experiences like our free events are open to everyone, overdue fines can make some people so uncomfortable that they don’t use the library at all. It also means that our staff can focus on other customer service experiences.


Will this affect the library’s operating budget?

Fines make up an extremely small portion of the library’s budget. Last year, only $11,800 in overdue fines were collected. This drop in revenue is due in part to our adoption of automatic renewals in 2019 but is also the result of a steady decline in DVD circulation. The Library of Trustees and library administration have adjusted the budget to accommodate this change.


What if I feel bad about fines and want to help?

The Friends of the Nashua Public Library is a group of dedicated volunteers who support the library in various ways. Through the money they raise at their annual book sales, this 501c3 funds many of our programs, including our Film Series, Summer Concerts on the Plaza, marketing ads, and more. Join the Friends today with a small donation and appease any guilt you may have about overdue items!