No More Library Late Fee Fines

The City of Goleta is pleased to report that library patrons will soon no longer be charged late fines at the Goleta and Santa Ynez Valley Libraries. The Goleta City Council unanimously approved the Library Advisory Commission’s recommendation to do away with late fines at the April 6, 2021, Council meeting. Beginning July 1, 2021, patrons will only be billed for items that are 30 days overdue after the original due date, and no overdue fines will be charged. Existing fines will be forgiven but patrons will still owe for unreturned materials and collection agency fees. Patrons with fines for late fees on their accounts will see those fines disappear in the next couple of weeks.

Library Director Allison Gray said, “I am very grateful to the City Council for taking this action. It will open up the wonderful services offered by our Library System to those who could not previously make use of them and ensure that we are being inclusive in offering our services to everyone.”

Many libraries across the country have taken this step and found that it not only increased their circulation but brought the people who most need the library back. Numerous studies indicate that eliminating fines increased goodwill between patrons and library staff and did not lead to an increase in late book returns.

In order to regain overdue materials the library will send mailed notices to patrons at 30 days past due (item is billed) and 60 days past due (replacement cost is final). At 63 days past due (and $40 or more in fees) the library will forward your account to a materials recovery agency and a $10 non-refundable service charge will be added to your account.

We hope that this action will lead many more people to get a Goleta Valley or Santa Ynez Valley Library card and begin accessing all of the physical and virtual materials and resources available. You can get your card during Sidewalk Service at your local branch (Wednesdays – Saturdays 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.). Please bring with you a form of valid, government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport that shows your home address. If your photo identification does not match your current address, bring in any piece of mail that has your name and address on it. Children from birth through 5th grade are eligible for their own library cards with the signature of a parent or guardian. Teens ages 12 through 17 can apply for their own card. You can also register here for an e-card that gives you immediate 24/7 access to online services.

Eliminating late fees also allows staff to spend more time providing positive services to library patrons, such as Tech Tutoring, Homework Help, Personal Reading Lists, and helping to navigate the Library’s robust website offerings. Visit to learn more about the programs and services available.

Read the full staff report from the April 6, 2021, City Council meeting at: A recording of the meeting is also available to view here.