As part of its continued recovery and to remove barriers to accessing the Santa Monica Public Library, the Santa Monica City Council approved a new Fine Free for All program. Beginning March 1, the Library will eliminate fines for overdue books and materials.

“Overdue fines create barriers to access for the very community members and populations that the library intends to serve. Removing fines will give cardholders increased access to services and use of the library and its materials both virtually and at any of our locations,” said Erica Cuyugan, Interim City Librarian.

The new program for all cardholders comes after a similar program launched in July 2018, eliminating fines for youth (0-18 years) who are Santa Monica Public Library cardholders. That program successfully increased Library use by that age group and supported the goal of building stronger ties with Santa Monica youth. During the pandemic, the Library temporarily suspended fines to support the community as it dealt with the impacts of COVID-19. This change applies to overdue fines only. Charges related to lost or damaged materials will continue to apply.

Now, building on these efforts, the City Council adopted the Fine Free for All program at its February 8 meeting, joining a host of local libraries who have adopted similar programs removing fines for library cardholders, including LA County Public Library, Burbank Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library, and more.

“We are proud to join the nationwide movement to eliminate library fines and ensure free and equal access to books, information, and lifelong learning,” said Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “If you are avoiding our libraries for fear of past or possible fines, please come back to take advantage of the tremendous resources and entertainment available.”

Help the Santa Monica Public Library celebrate the launch of Fine Free for All. If you haven’t been in the Library in a while, come back. If you are new to Santa Monica, join us. Follow the Library on Facebook @SMpublib and Twitter @SantaMonicaLibr for the latest updates.

Submitted by Rachel Foyt, Senior Administrative Analyst