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Circulation: Fines and Fees

Libraries FAQ


Fines and Fees

See the Libraries' Return to Campus FAQ for the latest updates on library services.

Fines are shown accruing on library accounts and are posted automatically upon receipt of a late item if it is subject to fines (most media, resource sharing materials, and other special categories). Items returned to the book drop are quarantined for three days, so even when dropped off on time, may show fines upon processing. Please email to ask for a fine waiver for late fees during the pandemic. 


How do I avoid fines and fees?

Avoid fines and fees by returning or renewing books on or before the due date, and checking your library account regularly for recall notices.

  • Lost item replacement fees are now $200 for all Penn libraries regardless of the material type. All fees for lost Penn owned items, returned in good condition, are forgiven upon return of the item to a Penn Libraries circulation desk. See further details below*
  • Reserve fines are $1/hour
  • Recall, video, and sound recording fines are $1/day; $30 maximum fine. 
  • Bestsellers are $1/day
  • Equipment: see individual libraries' policies
  • BorrowDirect and E-ZBorrow fines are $1/day; $25 maximum fine. 

How do you pay fines?

You may pay fines in person at any library circulation desk, by cash or check, or by mailing a check made to "The University of Pennsylvania" to Van Pelt Circulation, 3420 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206. Please note your PennCard ID number and the words "Library fines" on the memo line of the check so that we can be sure to credit the correct account.

The Van Pelt Library Circulation Desk also accepts Visa and MasterCard in person, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, or up to 30 minutes before closing. The library cannot accept card payments via phone.

How do lost item replacement charges work? 

Penn Libraries materials overdue for 28 days or more are automatically marked "lost" in our library system.  These items are  subject to a $200 lost item replacement fee. Items borrowed from another institutions, BorrowDirect, E-ZBorrow, and Interlibrary Loan, which are overdue more than 28 days, are subject to an item replacement fine of $125.

*Please Note: All fees are subject to change at the discretion of the head of circulation/library for each Penn Library. The actual replacement charge can be lower in the case of less expensive items or higher in cases of more valuable items.

At the discretion of the Libraries, replacement copies of lost books may be accepted in lieu of replacement fees. The fee for reprocessing replacement copies is now $10. To be accepted, replacement copies must be the same edition as the one that was lost. They must be new condition. Books that have been withdrawn from other libraries will not be accepted. Do not purchase a replacement copy before ensuring that it will be accepted by the Libraries. The owning library of the item being replaced reserve the right to reject, for any reason, any materials submitted for replacement.

Please note: many of our BorrowDirectE-ZBorrow and Interlibrary loan lending partners will not accept replacement copies. For these materials we are obligated to follow the rules of the owning institution.

The fine for lost items from the Athenaeum of Philadelphia are $85 per lost book.

Can lost fines be forgiven if you return the book?

"Lost" books cannot be renewed and must be returned to the library for your account to be credited. If you return a book after billing but before the library has begun the process to replace it, your account will be adjusted for the full lost item replacement charge. If the library has already "withdrawn" the item, we may not accept the lost item back and require payment.  

The level of reimbursement or credit for items returned more than 6 months after they have been marked "Lost" is at the discretion of the Penn Libraries. For items that are not the property of the Penn Libraries (e.g: Interlibrary loans, BorrowDirects or E-ZBorrows): once the Penn Libraries have been billed for lost materials by the original lending institution, no credits or reimbursements will be issued.

Are damaged books subject to fines and fees?

Students are responsible for reporting any damage to a book they check out from Penn Libraries, at the point of checkout. Books returned damaged will be carefully evaluated by library staff. Repair or replacement costs may be charged where appropriate. Books returned with adhesive tabs may be subject to fine/fee.

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