GLADL is now Fine Free!

Young woman sitting under a tree reading

NO FINES! You read that correctly. For the first time in over a 100 years, GLADL will no longer charge overdue fine penalties for late items. In other words…NO FINES! Just return your book, DVD, etc. and you will be back to borrowing.  All past overdue fines are being eliminated, except those for damaged or lost items.  

With NO FINES, it will now be easier than ever to borrow materials and enjoy the library. You can sign up for our streaming services, such as Overdrive, Libby and Hoopla, which provide great on-demand, digital content including e-books, movies and music. Or, take advantage of our public computers, public Wi-Fi, and educational databases like for free.  If for nothing else, come back to GLADL for all of our great programming and services that engage, enlighten and entertain. So come see what’s been happening “since you’ve been gone.” You are always welcome!

What does it mean to be fine free?

Daily fines will no longer be charged on any overdue items.

Due Dates Still Matter So, I can just keep this book I checked out ... forever?

Um, no. You still have to bring things back,  Also, if an item becomes more than 6 weeks overdue we assume it’s lost and charge you for the item.


If you’ve not yet finished that book or other item (because, life), and no one else is waiting, we will automatically renew your items (usually up to three times) two days before they are due.  If we have your correct email address, we’ll let you know what we could and could not renew. New movies, zoo passes, and bike locks cannot be renewed.

Although there will be no more fines, you should still return your items on or before their due dates.  You cannot checkout additional books and other materials until your overdue items have been returned. If you have damaged or lost items or owe collection fees, you will still need to settle your account with the library to reinstate your borrowing privileges. You can check your remaining balance by logging into your library account at or stop into  GLADL or call 517.627.7014 to talk with a staff member.

You cannot check out additional materials if you have more than 6 items overdue or owe more than $8.00. If an item reaches  6 weeks overdue, the account will be blocked for any new checkouts, renewals and holds until the item is returned. This procedure encourages timely return of materials without a monetary penalty.

Why has GLADL gone fine free?

Our mission is to empower our patrons to learn, imagine and connect to meet the evolving educational, recreational, and informational needs of the community. Since overdue fines create a financial barrier for many people in our community, eliminating them will allow more open access to more people. Eliminating fines for overdue materials means more people will have access to the resources they need. Late fines, no matter how small, are often a financial barrier for many families and individuals. These barriers discourage library use and lessen opportunities for lifelong learning, job training, homework help,  We hope this will encourage former users to revisit the library, along with attracting new users.

Don’t late fines encourage people to return items on time?

Studies indicate that small fines have little to no impact on return rates. According to the Colorado State Library whitepaper “Removing Barriers to Access”: “The scant research on the impact of library fines and fees does not indicate a clear benefit to administering these policies and may be costly to enforce.”

Libraries that have gone fine free have found that return rates actually go up. Chicago Public Library became fine free in September 2019 and experienced a 240% increase in returned materials

What about the overdues fines I already owe?

All overdue fines were removed. If you still see an overdue fine on your account, please notify a library staff member who will clear it. There are separate charges for lost or damaged items, and those will still be assessed.  

If fines have been waived, why does my account still have a balance?

Although overdue fines were cleared, charges for repairs, lost or damaged materials remain.

What if I paid my fine last month? Can I get a refund?

The library is unable to give refunds for fines previously paid. Refunds are only available if you’ve paid for a lost item and it is found and returned in good condition within 30 days.

How many other Michigan libraries have gone fine free?

The current list in Michigan alone includes over 40 libraries—Delta Township District LIbrary, DeWitt District Library, Eaton Rapids Area District Library, East Lansing Public Library, Grand Rapids Public Library, Kalamazoo Public Library, Capital Area District Library and many more.

How will this affect the library’s budget?

Going fine free is fiscally responsible. Due to the rise in digital checkouts and other factors, fines are not a sustainable form of revenue for the library. In addition, we consider any loss of fine revenue to be more than offset by the benefits of removing barriers to library access.