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Fines and Fees

For full Fines and Fees information, see the Fines and Fees Policy.

Is the Library no longer issuing fines?
The Hamilton Public Library is not charging library fines until December 31, 2021. All fines for youth materials are permanently eliminated, effective March 15. This ensures access to the library without fear of fines and supports the community through the pandemic and the recovery period. Learn more: Fines and Fees Policy.

What about fines accumulated before March 15?
All fines are cleared from Members’ Library accounts. It’s a fresh start for everyone.

What about fees for lost or damaged items?
All fees for lost or damaged items are cleared from Members’ Library accounts. It’s a fresh start for everyone. Just let HPL staff know the item(s) is lost. 

Will fines come back after December 2021?
The community and financial impacts of the fine-free campaign over the next 18 months will be reported to the Board in Q4 2021 and evaluated then.

I want to borrow Library materials, but I have large fines on my account, what can I do?
All fines are wiped from Members’ accounts. Visit for more information on borrowing. 

My child has large fines on their account, what can I do?
All fines on youth material fines are permanently eliminated, effective March 15, 2020. Please contact staff if you have any questions.

My account is blocked, can you tell me why?
Accounts may be blocked for several reasons: an incorrect address or phone number, the borrowing limit is reached, material is missing (ex. a disc from a CD set). To discuss why your account is blocked, please contact us.

Note: Accounts are now blocked when 20 items are overdue on your account.

What does the term ‘Material Mixup’ message mean on my account?
Material Mixup is the name given to items that have been returned to the Library incomplete. (For ex. A DVD case returned to HPL is missing a disc.) Items returned incomplete result in a Material Mixup block and need to be resolved.

I have a damaged item ‑ will I be billed for it?
Items returned damaged are not billed. Please return your item to the closest branch or chat with staff.

I have lost an item, what should I do?
All lost items are not billed. However, please let staff know so we can update our records.

Are children’s items no longer fined?
Yes. All fines on youth materials are permanently eliminated, effective March 15, 2020. Learn more: Fines and Fees Policy.

How can the Library afford to do this? Who is paying for this?
The amount collected by fines and fees declines annually and takes a lot of staff time. HPL is launching a pay-it-forward donor fund to support programming, collections and more.

How else can I help the Library?
There are several ways you can help HPL.

Volunteer opportunities

Giving opportunities

You can Pay it Forward and help others.

I would like to pay for an item that is damaged/lost, can I do this?
Yes. Please Donate or contact HPL to contribute to the Library’s programs and services.

What does HPL do with the donations?
The Pay-It-Forward Fund support collections, programming and quality learning resources.

There are four areas donors can direct their contributions:
Most Needed Use, Kids’ Learning Fund, Fines Forgiveness and Local History & Archives Collections.

Are tax receipts offered?
Tax receipts for donations made through are issued for all donations of $25 or more, upon request. Donations made through the website of $3 or more are issued a tax receipt.

How do I Pay-It-Forward?
There is an online donation page at

Or visit Canada Helps and choose Option 3. Pay-It-Forward from the drop-down menu.

Or visit any of HPL’s 22 branches where HPL staff can process your donation.