No more fines!

Christchurch City Councillors voted to take away charges for overdue items and wipe all historical debt relating to fines from 1 March 2022.

When you bring back overdue items, you will no longer face a fine. "Like a growing number of libraries around New Zealand and the globe, we have taken away the charges for overdue items and we are wiping all historic debt relating to fines," says Christchurch City Council Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson. "We are doing this because we don’t want fines to be a barrier for people using our libraries. Libraries are all about providing people with access to ideas, information and knowledge and we don’t want fines to stop people on tight budgets from using our services."


There are no fines charged on overdue items. Library users are encouraged to return their items on time so that other customers may enjoy them. Once an overdue item is returned, any related replacement and processing charges are cancelled.

If items are not returned after a certain period of time, the items will be deemed lost, your membership will be suspended, and the outstanding amount may be referred to a Debt Collection Agency. Customers will be liable for any collection costs incurred to recover amounts owing.

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Why are we removing overdue fines?
For many, fines act as a barrier to using our services particularly for people who cannot afford to pay. 

Will I be refunded any fines paid between 27 January 2022 and 1 March 2022?
There will be no refunds on fines paid prior to 1 March.

What happens if I lose or don’t return a book, when will the card be barred?
Timeframes around lost books and blocked cards remain the same. Card will be blocked 28 days after the item is due.
If your card is blocked or barred, you won't be able to borrow items, place holds, or use eResources. 

Will my debt collection referral fee be wiped?
Yes, if it is related to fines.

My card loan limit (and my family’s) is limited to two because of unpaid fines. Will these restrictions still remain?
Any debt related to fines will be removed and full borrowing privileges reinstated.

Will all debt (lost and damaged items, holds, etc.) be wiped from 1 March or just fines?
All historical debt relating to fines including debt collection fees will be removed 1 March. Debt collection fees relating to lost books will remain.

Will fines apply to the bestseller books?
No fines will be incurred on overdue bestsellers.

Will the $21 processing fee for lost and damaged books be removed?
No. You will still need to pay the processing fee along with the replacement cost of any items lost or damaged.

Will the timeframe for receiving reminders change?
No. You will continue to receive overdue reminders.