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Fees and Lost Materials

What if I do not return an item on time?

You will not be able to check out items if you have $15 or more in charges.





Books, magazines, pamphlets, CDs, audiocassettes, albums, videocassettes

25 cents



25 cents


Interlibrary Loan



Reference loan




Sign up for notices by email, phone, Library Elf or RSS to get help tracking due dates.


How can I pay my fine or fee?

There are three ways to pay a fine or fee.


What if I lose an item?

You will be charged for Library materials you lose. Replacement fees vary.  The Seattle Public Library does not accept in-kind personally purchased replacements for items lost or damaged while in circulation.


What does the Library do with overdue accounts?

Delinquent accounts for adults, children or teens with a balance due of $25 or more are submitted to Unique Management Service, 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 Service about overdue materials and outstanding fines. (Return rates on overdue materials are significantly better since the Library started using this service in 1999.)


Materials Claimed Returned

The Library will search for 40 days for the material which you believe has been returned.


Fines will not be charged while the material is in claimed returned (search) status. If the material is located it will be removed from your library account.


If the material is not located, it will display as lost and your account will be charged a material replacement fee in 40 days. If this happens and you are still certain it was returned, please immediately call, (206) 386-4190 or your local branch.


The Library sends billing notices on account balances that have reached $25.00. Unpaid account balances of $25 or more may be referred to the Materials Recovery Service the Library uses. A non-refundable $12 service charge is added to accounts that have been referred. For this reason, it is important that you check back in 40 days to see if the material was located.


If the Library begins to search for a material that you believe has been returned after your account has been referred to the Materials Recovery Service, you will continue to receive notices until the balance is paid in full


To check the status of your account or to make payment, visit any branch or call 206-386-4190. Have your Library Card with you.

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