Materials Recovery Program

We do not charge overdue fines for materials returned after the due date. This removes barriers to access, allowing more of our community to fully use all of services that we have to offer. Over 3 million items are borrowed each year from our libraries, and most are returned by the due date.


Overdue Material Policy

We encourage library patrons to return items on time so that others may use them. Under this policy, items can be checked out for their standard loan period and, if eligible, renewed up to five times. To ensure that materials are returned in a timely manner, we have established a Materials Recovery Program.

As a courtesy, the Library will email or text a reminder 2 days before the due date.


What happens when your items are:


  3 Days Past Due  - The Library sends you a courtesy reminder.

10 Days Past Due  - The Library sends you a second courtesy reminder.

17 Days Past Due  - The Library sends you a third courtesy reminder “FINAL NOTICE.”

30 Days Past Due  - The Library sends a replacement bill. If you return the item in good condition, the replacement fee will be waived.

63 Days Past Due  - The Library forwards your account to a collection agency.  A non-refundable $10 service charge is added to your account.
The collection agency will contact you regarding return of materials and/or payment.

 Materials Recovery FAQ

Will my previous fines be forgiven?

Yes. If you are a County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries cardholder we will remove past overdue fines from your account upon request.

Does this change apply to lost or damaged items?

No. Items that are lost, returned with damaged or missing parts, or otherwise are not returned in the same condition as when they were checked out will be billed accordingly.

Will I be notified if an item is overdue?

Yes. You will receive a courtesy notice 2 days before an item is due by email or text. You will also receive overdue notices 3 days past the due date, 10 days past the due date, and 24 days past the due date. If an item is 42 days past due the item will be assumed lost and the Library will send a replacement bill.

What happens if the item is damaged?

If you return an item that is damaged and can no longer be used, the item will be marked damaged and you will receive a bill for the replacement cost of the item.

Can I purchase a replacement for a damaged or lost item?

No. Replacement costs must be paid for each lost or damaged item. We do not accept replacement items in lieu of payment.

What happens if I regularly return my items late?

In the interest of service, equity, and access we ask that you return your items on time. We do want all items back and other people may be waiting. The materials recovery policy states how accounts are handled. If you repeatedly do not return materials within the allotted time, we may temporarily suspend your account for up to 6 months or limit the number of items you can have checked out to five items. When your account is suspended you cannot check out physical materials like books or DVDs or access some of our digital services until your overdue items are returned.