Fine Free! No Late Fees at HB Public Libraries

In November 2022, the Huntington Beach City Council approved the removal of late fines for Huntington Beach Public Libraries (HBPL). Effective immediately, HBPL patrons will no longer accrue fines on overdue items, and all past overdue fines have been removed. This continues a trend of user-friendly changes in library policies over the past decade, including removing non-resident card fees, adding teen cards, and eliminating charges for media items. Through this change, more of our community members will be able to access the library. We hope to see many library enthusiasts return without fear of fines.

Library materials will still have those familiar due dates. Most items will automatically renew on their due date if the item is not on hold and the item has not exceeded three renewals. Once an item has reached its maximum due date, or it is on hold for another patron, it must be returned for other patrons to enjoy. Patrons can choose to receive overdue messages by email, text, or phone.

Library staff looks forward to welcoming many new and returning patrons to all of our library branches. To help answer your questions, see the below Q&A.

Why did you eliminate fines?

Libraries throughout California and the country have been eliminating late fines. Late fines often present a barrier to library access for patrons who need materials and services the most. Many libraries have seen an increase in the return of lost or missing items as patrons return to the library.

What if I was in collections?

The library is no longer sending accounts to collections and old collections accounts have been deleted.

Can I return very overdue items I have at home?

As long as they are in good condition, we are happy to have the items returned to us. If your card was blocked due to lost items or overdue fines, your card will be reinstated once all items are returned. If you paid for any lost items, we cannot offer a refund.

Can I keep library items as long as I want?

After 30 days overdue, an item will be assumed lost. Patrons will be blocked from checking out items until all lost items are returned or paid for. The fee for the item is the replacement cost of the item from the library’s vendor, plus a $5 processing fee. Returning items on or before their due date makes them available for other patrons that may be waiting.

How do I know if my items are overdue?

You will be notified by text, phone, or email, depending on what you requested when your account was set up. You can also check your account online.

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