Fine Free

Waive goodbye to fines! Your Library is now Fine Free!

What does going Fine Free mean?

The Howland Public Library is starting a new chapter! Our Board of Trustees voted unanimously to end fines for all materials here at HPL, effective January 1, 2023.

Research has shown that fines do not prevent patrons from returning books late, but they do create barriers to service for some. You can read more about it on the American Library Association’s website. Lifting this barrier is a significant step for us being able to fulfill our mission of providing free and equitable access to information for all our community members.

Are ALL library materials fine free?

Yes. All items, including Library of Things and Museum Passes.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. Special order Interlibrary Loan items are not considered fine free and are still subject to overdue fines set by the owning institutions. These are items from outside of the Mid-Hudson system, such as universities or institutions outside New York State.

Will there still be due dates?

Yes. Library items will still have due dates.

3 weeks (21 days)

Books and audiobooks

2 weeks (14 days)

DVD series & sets and Library of Things

1 week (7 days)

DVDs, Music CDs, Magazines

We also have automatic renewals through the Mid-Hudson Library System. If no one is waiting on an item you have checked out, the item will be automatically renewed up to two times.

Does this mean people will never return books?

Replacement fees still apply for lost and damaged items. Patrons owing $10 or more in replacement fees will not be able to check out items until the balance is below $10.

What if I still see a fine on my account?

Contact us and we will be happy to resolve or explain the issue.

What if the items is from other MHLS Libraries?

All items checked out at the Howland Public Library are fine free, even if it is from another Mid-Hudson library.

I see fines as a donation to the library. Can I still make a donation?

That’s great! The library accepts donations at the front desk or by using the donate button on the lefthand side of this page.

Are there other fine free libraries?

Yes. In the Mid-Hudson Library System there are, as of December 2022, a total of 51 fine free library, including Howland, and four (4) partially fine free libraries. That means that almost all of the 66 libraries in our system are fine free. The full list is available online at

Will the library lose a lot of money by eliminating fines?

No. In the 2022-2023 fiscal year, overdue fines accounted for $1,000 or 0.07% of the library’s budget.