Category Archives: Fines

Fines in MyCLUES

You wrote:

Good day!
I wondered if there was a specific place on the library site where I could check to see if I had a fine for late return of a book that was recalled?

If not, would it be possible to set up such a system on MyClues?

Thank you for your great question.  Indeed, MyCLUES will provide you with that information.  If you have any library fines, they will show up in MyCLUES.

You can also go to MyCLUES to get a complete list of items you have out at the moment, to renew books, to set up preferred searches, and to consult your reading lists and your reading history.

fines in myclues

InterLibrary Loans notices not in MyCLUES

You wrote: 

Hi –

It’s been brought to my attention (in a rather expensive way) that Inter-Library Loan items do not appear in the MyClues list of items I have checked out. I log into MyClues frequently every day so it was a bit of a shock to get an email from InterLibrary Loans saying I have an item that is “very overdue.” My fault for forgetting, yes, but it could have been avoided by including InterLibrary Loans items in MyClues alongside my other checked out items. That seems entirely sensible, does it not?


Thank you for your email.  Our InterLibrary Loans (ILL) system, Colombo, does not run on CLUES.  It runs on another system that is shared with our sister institutions across  Quebec. Because of the nature of the InterLibrary Loans service, it makes sense that we should be able to communicate seamlessly with other libraries.  However, this means that Colombo is not connected to CLUES.  InterLibrary Loans staff email users with overdue ILL items.  They keep track of unreturned items and re-send overdue notices, as needed.  Although users are blocked from InterLibrary Loans as well as from borrowing from our collection until the item is returned, there are no overdue fines for InterLibrary Loans items.

Why can’t you pay fines online?

You wrote:

Unless the library offers a way to pay fines online, I don’t see the point in not allowing patrons, faculty for instance, to use their library accounts to order or renew books. Being told one has no access because of excessive fines in the order of $5.00 seems a waste.

It isn’t that I don’t want to pay, I’m happy to pay for the excellent services the Concordia library offers. It’s that I’m not *in* the library: much of my library use is virtual now.

Thank you for your kind words regarding the library’s excellent services. It is really unfortunate, but due to some technical limitations, we are unable to provide online payment services at this time.
The Libraries apply fines so that users return books on time.  This gives other users a chance to borrow the books.  For more information on fines, please see our fines information page

The good news in all of this is that although users are blocked from borrowing activities, they can still access the Libraries’ online resources, that is e-books, databases and electronic journals.

Fines and replacement costs

Some of you may be surprised at what it can cost you to return library books late or to replace a lost item.  However, rest assured that the Libraries do not profit from these charges.  Our system of overdue fines, replacement charges and other sanctions is in place to encourage the timely return of library material to maximize availability and fair access to library resources. The replacement charge of a book or other library item includes: 

  • the replacement cost of the lost item, to be calculated based on current or average cost


  • the overdue fine to a maximum of $20, non-refundable
  • a non-refundable processing fee of $20

At first glance, the replacement cost may not seem like the lowest price. Although a bookseller may offer the same book for far less than we are charging, the story is far more complicated.  The cost on a bookseller’s website may not be for a new book. The book may or may not be in good condition.  The price may be for a format different from what was lost (for example, paperback versus hardcover).  Also, shipping, handling and duty significantly increase the total cost.  For foreign dealers, shipping to Canada may not be an option. Finally, sometimes the book is not available in the end and we have to start the search process all over again.  Therefore, when replacing a book, the Libraries choose the surest way to obtain a new copy of an item. 

For more information, please see our Fines Information page at: .

Course Reserve Room: Dropping Off Returns

You wrote:

The new course reserved book room is a really great idea, however when we return books, even if they are on time and the staff decide that they would like to leave early, how are we sure we will not get fined for the books we returned in the drop off box? Perhaps there should be a check in system for when we need to return the books in the drop off box.

Thank you for your question.  You are the first student to write to us about our new Course Reserve Room at Webster Library, and we’re glad that you like the idea.  The Book Return Box in this room is constantly monitored and items are checked in almost immediately. This is to ensure not only that unmerited late fines are not applied, but also that returned course items become available to the next students without delay.

The room opens during regular circulation service hours and staff working there will definitely not leave early. And if your books happen to be due after the Reserve Room opening hours, you actually benefit from some extra borrowing time as our check-in system does not apply fines for any of the hours during which the room is closed. Just be sure to return your items in the box before the room opens again in the morning!  We look forward to hearing more from all of you about this new venture.

Missed courtesy notices

You wrote:

Suggestions–the reminder system for due books is in need of fixing. In my 3+ years at concordia, about 5-6 times I have not received a reminder. I only received an overdue email and am then subject to fines. This is particularly hard on me personally since I borrow books in large volume and may have as many as 10 books (or more) taken out on a given day.  I was told that if my account was in use when the notification would have been automatically sent out, it would not have been sent out. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. The system should automatically retry later, or it should be modified so that this does not happen. Reminders are an important part of the system, and this is a systematic failure. No doubt I should regularly check my account by logging on, but if you have a reminder system, then it should be reliable.

Which leads to me second suggestion. There should be a 1-day grace period on overdue returns. This was the case at UPENN, where I received my PHD, and it is the case in other libraries in other places. Why not institute it at Concordia? There are times when having an extra can make a big difference for people.

I am sorry to hear that you have missed email reminders of due books.  However, these email reminders are courtesy notices, nothing more.  Our policy states that,

 “The user is responsible to review checked out items and their due dates in their MyCLUES account. When the user provides an e-mail address, the Library will send a reminder of the due date and recall notices when an item has been requested by another user. Non-receipt of courtesy, recall or overdue notices does not release borrowers from their responsibility to return books on time.”
I have forwarded your suggestion for a 1-day grace period to the Circulation Services Committee.  Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

Library fines online?

You wrote:

Why can’t i pay my library fines online?

In the situation where the library staff is away but the library is open, this is intensely frustrating.

Currently, i am trying to self-checkout books, and it is not possible – not because i’m not willing to pay my fines, but because there is no mechanism to allow me to do so.

This is not a good system.  I hope that you are able to modify and ameliorate the way your fines system works soon.

I’m sorry to hear about the inconvenience you experienced.  I can see how this situation would be frustrating.  We are not at all opposed to the idea of online fine payment, but unfortunately technical limitations prevent us from implementing such a service at the moment.

Your comment is welcome and may serve as a useful reminder for other students who are planning to check out books from the library while they owe enough fines to have blocked their borrowing privileges: 

To avoid frustration and make sure you will be able to pay for your fines and borrow books, take a look at our circulation desk hours – not just our opening hours –  before heading to the library.  For more information on fines and their payment see our detailed Fines Information page.

Paying Library Fines

You wrote:

Hello, I am writing with regards to overdue fines. It would be really efficient and quite up to date if you had an option to pay overdue fines online. I am stuck at the library after staff hours, with no way to pay my fines.

I am thus being unable to take books home for the weekend. This is hugely frustrating, and could easily be solved by an online system of payment for fees incurred. Thank you.

Thank you for raising this point. It would be very good to be able to pay fines online. Currently, there are some technical issues that prevent us from implementing online banking to pay fines.

Our circulation desks are open late most evenings. It looks like you came in on a Friday evening, and weren’t able to pay your fines and then use the self-checkout machine. For the most part, though, we have staff working in the evenings and fines can be paid that way. We are sorry for the inconvenience. We are interested in making it possible to pay fines online.

Fines on reserve items

You said:
Your overdue fines are too high. $2 per hour for a 24-hour book is crazy.

The fine of $2/hour applies only to course readings on reserve that are returned late. Fines are higher for course reserves material because so many students need access to these readings. These materials are usually in very high demand, and when they are not available to other students taking that class, everyone else is disadvantaged. Fines are in place to try to encourage people to bring back materials so everyone in the class has the opportunity to do their readings.