Late Fee Elimination FAQs

Here we will answer questions about the Cadillac Wexford Public Library and branches elimination of late fees.

Late Fee Elimination FAQs

Q: What does this mean?

A: The library will no longer charge a $ .05 late fee for every day an item is kept beyond it’s due date. This includes books, DVDs, audiobooks, etc. This also includes every CWPL location; Cadillac, Manton, Mesick, and Buckley!


Q: Does that mean there are no more due dates?

A: No! We still need you to bring your materials back on time! When you bring a book back late, you are making another person wait. Everyone likes getting the books, movies, and DVD’s they want quickly. The best way to ensure this is if everyone brings their items back on time.


Q: If people don’t have to pay a daily late fee, why would they bring their books back on time?

A: If a person keeps an item past the due date, they can’t access the library’s services until the item is renewed or returned. That means they can’t use the library computers, they can’t check out more items, and they can’t use our online services like MelCat or Up North Digital. Library staff has found that blocking access to services is more effective than charging late fees.

If an item is more than 3 weeks overdue, the person will be charged the replacement cost of the item, until that item is returned in good condition.

The library has a great system for sending reminders for due dates! You can get them through text and email! Let us know if you would like to take advantage of this easy and automatic service.


Q: What about damaged or lost books?

A: Late fees are not the same as replacement fees. If a person returns an item that is damaged and cannot be returned to the library shelves, that person will be charged for the price of the item. Until that cost is paid, that person cannot access library services.  

 If a person has lost an item and cannot return it to the library, that person will be charged for the price of the item. Until that cost is paid, that person cannot access library services.


Q: What if I have old charges on my account?

A: Old late fees will be forgiven! We would love to see you again at the library!

Please, remember that late fees are not the same as replacement fees. If you owe for the cost of a damaged or lost item, library staff would be glad to discuss the matter with you. But those fees will not be automatically waived.


Q: How can the library afford this?

A: Late fees are a very small part of the library budget. Less than 1% of our yearly revenue comes from late fees. The majority of our operating budget comes from the county wide millage. We can afford to take this step to encourage library use.


Q: What about MelCat?

A: The new policy applies only to CWPL owned materials. MelCat materials will still have a fine of $.05 per item, per day past the due date.


Q: Why is the library doing this?

A: We want to encourage library use! For some people, just the thought of late fees prevents them from using the library. Some people owe more late fees than they can afford to pay. Late fees were established as a way to encourage people to bring materials back to the library so that they could be used by the largest number of people possible. Unfortunately, they have become a deterrent to using the library for some people. By taking this step, we hope to welcome new library users and welcome back some previous users!

We also want to be better stewards of library materials. For some people, the daily late fee can become a barrier to bringing materials back. Imagine you are the parent of two children. You come to library and allow each child to check out ten picture books and you check out five books for yourself. You have 25 items on your account. Life gets busy, and you forget about the bag of books in your car. You notice an email from the library that these 25 items are 20 days overdue and you now owe $25 in late fees! Even if you bring the items back, you still own $ 25. Even if you do the right thing by bringing the items back, you are still punished. You probably feel embarrassed at the idea of admitting your mistake to a stranger while you pay the fee. So, why should you do the right thing? You might as well keep the items, not pay the fee, and never use the library again. We don’t want that!

Ultimately, the library’s goal is to get both items and users back. Removing the daily late fee encourages people to bring materials back and to continue using our wonderful resources.

Q: What about Hotspots and Chromebooks?

Hotspots and Chromebooks are unique because they are such expensive items and the library has to pay for service to hotspots as well. For this reason, there is a $1 per day late fee for both of these items.

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