The Jacksonville library still doesn’t charge you if you return a book late. But most libraries do, and there’s now a way to save a little money in St. Johns County.
Until Dec. 22, you can reduce your fines by donating food through the library’s “Food for Fines” program.
Here’s how the program works: When you donate one nonperishable, unexpired food item, the library system will remove $2 of fines from your record. The county says the program applies only to overdue fines. Fees associated with lost or damaged items are not included.
All food donated to libraries and bookmobiles will go toward the county’s Health and Human Services Food Pantry. More information is available on the county’s library website, sjcpls.org.
Clay County’s libraries had a similar program in 2019, but the county says it plans no future events. Nassau County also charges fines for late returns.
Jacksonville’s public libraries eliminated overdue fines in 2021. Library officials noted at the time that people needed a break from the COVID-19 pandemic. Eliminating fines gave everyone fair and equitable access to materials.
The library says overdue fines are a particular burden for less-fortuante people. And having fines is less of an incentive to return items than it used to be, the library says.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be charged for lost or damaged materials. Replacement fees vary per item — with books costing between $23 and $31 to replace. A person can be barred from borrowing if they have fees costing more than $19.99.