About Fees & Lost Materials

How much will I be charged if I return something late or lose an item?

Late fines vary by item:

  • Late fines for most items are $.25 per day, for a maximum of $8 per item.
  • Items borrowed via interlibrary or reference loan cost $1 per day overdue, up to a maximum of $15 per item.
  • E-books and audiobooks you download expire automatically when they are due, with no late fines.


If you lose an item let us know as soon as you can and we will ask you to pay the replacement cost. If you are unable to pay the charges, please speak to staff about your options. Ask Us, visit any branch or call Borrower Services at 206-386-4190.

To avoid incurring overdue fines, keep track of due dates by:

• Printing a due date receipt when you check out
• Logging in to your account online
• Calling TeleCirc at 206-386-9015
• Using Library Elf to set up custom notices by email, text message, and more

How can I make a payment on my account?

You can pay online with a credit or debit card through PayPal, or come into any branch with cash, 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?

Fine and fee payments support the Library’s operating budget, which keeps libraries open and lets us buy new materials and equipment.

What happens if charges aren't paid?

If you owe more than $15 in fines or fees we will ask you to pay the balance before you can borrow more items.

Library accounts with an unpaid balance of $25 or more are submitted to Unique Management Services, a collection agency. The agency will contact borrowers on behalf of the Library until balances are paid or arrangements are made with the Library for repayment and return of overdue materials. The Library adds a $12 fee to a borrower's account when the account is submitted to the collection agency.

You may get reminders from Unique Management Services about overdue materials and outstanding fines.

If you are unable to pay charges on your account, please speak to staff about your options. Ask Us, visit any branch or call Borrower Services at 206-386-4190.

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.

If you have a question or need help, Ask Us or call 206-386-4636.