Fines for Overdue Library items

Frequently Asked Questions

En español

Why does Timberland Regional Library (TRL) charge overdue fines?

  • Overdue fines encourage patrons to return library items by the due date, making them available sooner to other patrons and reducing the amount TRL has to spend for additional copies of popular items.
  • Overdue fines help support library services.

How much is the overdue fine?

  • $0.15/day for each item for each loan period.
  • $5/day for e-readers

May I still check out items if I have overdue fines?

  • You can check items out as long as you owe less than $10, and your account is not in collections.

Are patrons reminded about due dates before items become overdue? 

  • If you already receive TRL email notices you will automatically receive "Due Date Reminders" four days before an item is due. To sign up for email notification chose one of these three options: 
    • Visit www.TRL.org and click on My Account, enter your library card number and PIN, click Profile and add your email address.
    • Ask library staff to sign you up for email notification.
    • Call Ask-A-Librarian at 704-4636 in the Olympia calling area or 1-800-562-6022.

How do I pay my fines or fees to TRL?  

  • By cash or check at any of Timberland’s 27 libraries. Please make checks payable to Timberland Regional Library.
  • Online at www.TRL.org using a Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card.  

How can I avoid overdue fines?  

  • Return or renew items you have checked out by the due date.

How do I renew items? 

  • Visit www.TRL.org and click on My Account, enter your library card number and PIN, then click Checkouts and renew items in your account.  
  • Ask library staff to help you renew items.
  • Call Ask-A-Librarian at 704-INFO(4636) in the Olympia calling area or 1-800-562-6022.
  • Call i-tiva, the library’s automated calling system, at 586-1599 in the Olympia calling area or 1-800-582-9703.

When can I renew items?  

  • You can renew most items twice, unless there are hold requests on the item.
  • E-readers cannot be renewed.  

Is there a maximum overdue fine? 

  • Except for e-readers, the maximum overdue fine is $4.20 per item for each loan period. 
  • If you renew an item, that starts a new loan period.
  • E-reader overdue fees are $5/day with a maximum of $50.

How is the maximum fine calculated? 

  • $0.15/day will be charged for each item for 28 days, i.e., to a maximum of $4.20/item.
  • When an item is 28 days overdue it is considered "lost" and you will be billed for the full replacement cost of the item. 

When are overdue fines charged to my library record?  

  • Overdue fines are charged to your record when an item is checked in or renewed.

When can I pay overdue fines? 

  • You can only pay overdue fines after you have returned the overdue item and the library staff have checked it in or after you have renewed the item. 

What sort of notices do I get about overdue items? 

  • TRL sends courtesy notices by email, phone, text (sms) or mail.
  • If your email address in in your library card account, you will receive email reminders four days before items are due.
  • Overdue notices go out automatically when items are two days overdue.
  • Materials are due by the due date, whether or not courtesy notices are received. 

Will I be charged a fine if I return an item to the book drop the day it is due but after the library closes?

  • No, you will not be charged an overdue fine. Library staff will check in the item the next day the library is open but will "back date" items that came in through the book drop.  

Can I see how much I owe in overdue fines in the online library catalog? 

  • Yes, but only after the items have been checked in.

Does the library charge other fees?  

  • Replacement costs are charged for items that are 28 days overdue. These are referred to as "lost" items. You may know where they are, but they are "lost" to TRL.
  • Damage fees are charged if an item is damaged while you have it checked out. Staff inspect items for damage when they are returned so you will not be charged for damage that occurred before you checked an item out.
  • Interlibrary loan fees are charged if the library we are borrowing from on your behalf charges a fee. You determine the maximum amount you are willing to pay before we request the item. TRL always searches for free services first.

What is the Collection Agency fee?

  • TRL uses a collection agency for library accounts that have fines (overdues) and fees (replacement or damaged item fees) of $50 or more for 30 days.
  • If your account is sent to the collection agency, you will be assessed a non-refundable Collection Agency fee of $10.
  • If you find the item, return it, and pay all other fines or fees, the Collection Agency fee must still be paid before you can check items out of the library.

What if I lose an item and pay for it, then find it and return it? 

  • If you find and return an item that you paid for, your account will be credited the amount you paid to replace the item, minus accrued overdue fees.
  • You can request a refund if you return the item within one year of the date of payment.
  • Library staff cannot give you the refund in the library. A check will be issued to you from the TRL Administrative Service Center. It takes two to four weeks to receive the check.
  • Collection Agency fees are not refundable.  

Is there a process to appeal fines or fees?  

  • Library staff are expected to apply rules regarding fines or fees in a fair and equitable manner.
  • Not receiving courtesy notices is not an accepted reason for appeal.
  • At its discretion, TRL may waive some fees for library users who have experienced bankruptcy, fire, hospitalization or similar emergencies, theft, or fees 7 or more years old. Patrons may be asked to provide supporting documentation, including a Fines Appeal Form. Appeals may require administrative review.

10/2014