Fees & Lost Materials
We don’t charge daily late fines, but we will charge you for the replacement cost of items that are a month or more overdue. You don’t owe anything once the item is returned. If you cannot return an item, you can either pay for the cost of replacement or contact us about other options.
Changes to hold times and account suspensions on May 23. Hold times and account suspension timelines were extended during the Library's Covid-19 systemwide reopening. Starting Monday, May 23, the Library will reduce the maximum hold time for items from 14 days to 7 days. Scheduled Library closures do not count toward the 7 day hold limit.
The Library will also return to suspending accounts for items that remain overdue after 14 days. The Seattle Public Library offers fine-free borrowing. Suspended accounts are reactivated once items are returned.
About Fees & Lost Materials
How much will I be charged if I return something late or lose an item?
We do not charge daily late fines, so there are no charges for any item you return late, once you return it. When an item is 31 days overdue we consider it lost and charge you for the replacement cost.
How can I make a payment on my account?
You can pay online with a credit or debit card through PayPal, check or money order. We also accept checks or money orders by mail.
Mail check/money order to: Attention Borrower Payments, The Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104. Include your Library card number so your account is credited. You will receive a receipt in the mail.
What does the Library do with payments?
Payments support our operating budget, which keeps libraries open and lets us buy new materials and equipment.
What happens if charges aren't paid?
Please return any items you still have and we will remove the replacement cost from your account. If you are unable to return the items or pay for replacement, please contact us to discuss your options.
Library accounts with an unpaid balance of $25 or more are submitted to Unique Management Services for collection. Your balance will not be reported to credit bureaus or affect your credit score.
The agency will contact you on our behalf until your balance is paid or arrangements are made for repayment or return of overdue materials. We add a $10 fee to your account when we submit it to the collection agency.
You may get reminders from Unique Management Services about overdue materials and outstanding charges.
Can I contest a charge on my account?
If you have any questions or concerns about charges on your account, Ask Us, visit any branch or call Borrower Services at 206-386-4190.
If you are unable to pay charges on your account, please speak to staff about options.
If you have returned something that still appears on your account, let us know as soon as you can. We will try to locate the item and will not add any late charges for the missing item to your account while we look for it.