Hennepin County Library Board Policy
This policy states the principles upon which fees are established; advises the acceptable scope of library fees; and describes the roles and responsibilities for establishing and administering fees.
Our overarching value is access to and stewardship of library resources:
- Hennepin County Library serves the community as a whole and strives to make its limited collection, technology, and services freely accessible to all. We are committed to reducing economic barriers to library access and use.
- Patrons are responsible for the materials and technology they borrow. When materials or technology are returned late or are lost, they are no longer available for others.
- The library is a publicly funded institution and will establish fees and fines only after a public hearing. As of January 1, 2021, Hennepin County Library is a “fine free” library. This means that no fines are assessed for overdue library materials, and all outstanding overdue fines on patrons’ accounts have been forgiven and removed from the accounts.
Scope and Application
Patrons are responsible for the library materials and technology checked out on their cards and are expected to return borrowed items in a timely manner. A fee will be charged to a patron’s account for items not returned within 40 days of their final due date.
If the patron returns the overdue item within one year of the due date, the fee will be waived and removed from the patron’s account. If the fee total on a patron’s account exceeds $10, then limitations may be placed on the account as set forth on the library's fee page. In addition, a patron who deliberately damages or steals library material or technology may have further service denied.
Fees may be established to support the provision of supplemental services (e.g., photocopying). Circumstances may warrant staff to waive a patron’s fees. Library staff will apply fee waivers fairly and equitably according to established practices. In addition, the Library Director may authorize some library programs or services (e.g., Outreach Services) to be exempt from fees.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners bears the authority to establish library fees and fines.
The Library Board has the responsibility for establishing fee and fine policies which align with the decisions of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioner and leading library practice.
The Library Director, as a part of the annual budget process, briefs the Library Board regarding any proposed fee and fine changes and advances the proposed changes to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners for approval.
The Library Services Division Manager (or designee) posts a library administrative policy that:
- establishes practices to collect and waive library fees;
- defines expectations for the timely resolution of disputes; and
- determines the necessary level of financial oversight and review.
Authorized fees are posted at https://www.hclib.org/about/borrowing#fees. Library staff will collect fees, resolve disputes in a timely way, and work with patrons to restore borrowing and library use privileges.
Associated Policies and Laws
This policy is reviewed by the Library Board (or a committee thereof) every four years, more frequently when suggested by the Library Director, or when required to accommodate a fee or fine change made by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners. Revisions to the policy are subject to the approval of the Library Board. Recommendations are advanced to the Library Board Policy Committee, which reviews, revises as necessary, endorses, and advances to the full Library Board for approval.
Next Review: 2026
Date reviewed: September 21, 2022