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Circulation: Fines and Fees

Fines and Fees

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 items borrowed from 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*
  • As of January 2022, we no longer charge overdue fines on regular books. Technology, course reserves and other special items may accrue overdue fines to encourage timely returns.

How do you pay fees?

You may pay fees 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? 

All regular materials, whether they are owned by Penn or have been borrowed via Interlibrary Loan / BorrowDirect / EZBorrow, 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. This fee will be removed from the patron's library account if the overdue item is returned within 90 days of the due date. The bursar will be notified of any fines not cleared from a student account after 90 days.

*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 Books that have been withdrawn from other libraries will not be accepted.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.


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 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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