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Boulder Public Library Says Goodbye to Late Fees

Some people may have wondered why late fees at the local library have vanished, but the estimated 72% of households in Boulder that have an active library card probably aren’t missing them.  

outside view of the boulder public library in the springtime

Many studies have found that late fees disproportionately impact patrons with the least ability to pay. Because of this, Boulder Public Library decided to do away with late fees back in March 2019. The fees only made up a small portion of the library’s overall budget, while the opportunity to remove barriers to access these important services was a driving force. 

The library’s old policy blocked accounts with over $10 in overdue fines from checking out additional materials. After the policy change, overdue fines were removed from 46,000 patron accounts, increasing equity among library users and allowing those with previously blocked accounts the option to check out books again.  

What it means for you 

Checked out items still have a due date, and borrowers are encouraged to return them on time. Items not on hold for someone else will automatically renew up to three times.  

If an item is not returned within one month of the final due date, a charge will be place on the account for the full amount of the missing item. However, if the item is returned within one year, the replacement charge will be removed.  

For questions about library accounts or the new policy, call 303-441-3100 or visit