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January 12, 2023

Houston Public Library is Now a 'Fine Free' System for Cardholders

With the support of Mayor Sylvester Turner and approval by Houston City Council, Houston Public Library (HPL) is no longer charging late fines on overdue books and other borrowed items, effective January 11, 2023. By eliminating late fines, HPL joins other public library systems across North America in lowering financial barriers to library access and creating more equitable services for all users.

"A fine free library system evens the playing field and incentivizes Houstonians to become lifelong users of our Houston Public Library," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "When you analyze the numbers, you see that young people account for more than 27% of users with fines, preventing them from accessing free resources and tools for learning. Simply put, this is the right thing to do."

To give all customers an opportunity to clear their accounts, HPL has designated an amnesty period to occur from January 17 through February 18, 2023. During the amnesty period, library users are invited to visit any HPL location to return overdue items and review their account status for fees. Library staff will assist with clearing charges and restoring accounts. This excludes any fees associated with Interlibrary Loan, as they are imposed by libraries outside the HPL system.

After the amnesty period ends, accounts will only reflect fees to replace lost or damaged items that are not returned 30 days after the due date.

Library Late Fees Graphic

The Houston Public Library (HPL) operates 27 Neighborhood Libraries, five Regional Libraries, three History Research Centers, two Express Libraries, the HPL Mobile Express, three TECHLink locations and a satellite location at the Children’s Museum of Houston. Our Downtown Houston flagship facility, Central Library, along with the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza, anchors this constellation of service points. HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs in an increasingly digital age. For further information, visit the Houston Public Library at, call 832-393-1313, follow us on Twitter or Facebook @houstonlibrary or on Instagram @houstonpubliclibrary.