Fines, Damaged Materials, Lost Items, Refunds, and Waivers of Fines

Fines, Damaged Materials, Lost Items, Refunds, and Waivers of Fines & Food-for- Fines and similar programs

Fines are due when the materials are returned, or when the patron next comes to the library. Fines may be paid at any library within the MORE system of IFLS. We will accept cash, checks, or credit/debit card payments. Credit and debit card payments may be made online or at the Rusk County Community Library.

Charges for damaged materials will vary with the degree of damage. There are numerous factors that determine the charge including the type and amount of damage, the age and general condition of the material(s), the cost of the materials, among other things.

Lost items generally are charged at the cost of the item. Magazines are charged at the rate of $5.00, regardless of the cover price. Mass-market paperback books and children’s paperbacks are charged at a minimum rate of $5.00, regardless of cover price. The total minimum cost for any lost material will be $5.00.

No refunds will be made if the material has been replaced or is on order.

If the material which has been paid for and is returned within 30 days, and has not been ordered or replaced, 50% of the money paid will be refunded. The patron must have a receipt to receive any refund for lost materials. Refunds will be given only within 30 days of the payment for the lost items. If the material is returned in damaged condition, no refund will be made. The minimum charge for an interlibrary loan item that is lost or damaged so as to require replacement is $50.  If the item is more expensive than $50.00, or the owning library requires a greater payment, that actual cost will be charged to the patron.

We generally do not accept replacement materials purchased by patrons. Pre-approval by the director is required for a replacement item, which must be identical in format to the item being replaced. 

These policies apply to materials owned by the Rusk County Community Library. Other libraries in the MORE system, within IFLS, or that send materials through interlibrary loan have policies which apply to their materials.  

Waiving fines is rarely done. There must be good cause for such an action, and we can only waive fines on materials owned by the Rusk County Community Library. The waiver of fines must be approved by the director of the library.

We recommend that patrons avoid fines by calling the library to renew materials, or by renewing items online.

On occasion, libraries within the MORE system will offer a Food-for-Fines program. A dollar’s worth of non-perishable food may be brought to the library to “pay” for a dollar’s worth of fines. This holds true only for the library offering the program, and only during the time of the program. These special programs for “paying” fines never cover the cost of replacements for lost or severely damaged items. Other similar programs, such as Read Off Your Fines work in a similar way to the Food For Fines.


Policy accepted by Library Board 3-14-2012; revised 8-9-2016; revised 4-11-2017.