This week, the King County Library System (KCLS) will clear late fines for all patrons with a new initiative called A Fresh Start for All. This one-time waiver gives patrons a fresh start on their account and enables access to all KCLS materials. A Fresh Start for All was approved by the KCLS Board of Trustees on April 27, 2022 and will go into effect on May 4, 2022.
The coronavirus pandemic placed many hardships on King County communities. To help patrons, KCLS temporarily stopped assessing late fines in March 2020. The System also lifted electronic access on blocked accounts during this time so patrons could still download digital materials.
KCLS will return to pre-pandemic circulation practices on September 15, and will start assessing late fines again at that time. After their accounts have been cleared on May 4, patrons will have until September 15 to return items before late fines resume.
KCLS is also introducing a new automatic renewal service on September 15. KCLS will automatically renew holds for patrons if their items are eligible for renewal. This will allow patrons to keep their materials longer without accruing late fines. Patrons may opt out of this service if they choose to.
Late fines add up when a patron does not return library materials by the due date. Late fines over $25 lead to a blocked account. A blocked account limits access to library services, books and other materials.
Lost fees are different from late fines. If library materials are more than 30 days overdue, they are considered lost. A Fresh Start for All will not apply to these fees; under state law, KCLS cannot waive lost fees. On May 4, the System will begin processing lost fees again. KCLS will mail billing notices to accounts with over $25 in fees. Patrons will have until September 15 to return items or pay fees before accounts are blocked.