Borrowing & Fees

Material Loan Periods

Most library materials have a three-week checkout period, and are eligible to be renewed up to 4 times. If there are no holds on your items, they will be automatically renewed. Some collections have shorter loan periods or fewer renewals, due to the popularity of the items in the collection. 

Renewals & Returns

You can renew items in person, by telephone (847-256-6947), or through My Account in our online catalog. If an item is renewable, it will automatically be renewed. Most renewable items can be renewed up to four times. You will receive notification of renewal three days before an item's due date.

Returns are accepted at book drops in the following locations:

  • Library Parking Lot
  • Linden CTA Purple Line Station, 4th and Linden Ave.
  • Plaza del Lago, 1515 Sheridan Rd.
  • Community Recreation Center, 3000 Glenview Rd.


You can receive notifications about upcoming due dates, overdue items, and availability of reserved titles in a variety of ways: e-mail, text message, phone call, or by mail. These preferences are set when you get a library card. Should you wish to change them later:

  • Visit the My Account section of our online catalog.
  • Sign in using your library card number and password.
  • Select My Account.
  • Select My Record.
  • Select Contact Information and Preferences to change your notification preferences.
  • Select the Submit Change Request button.

If you have any questions, please contact our Circulation department at 847-256-6947.


Wilmette Public Library is fine free! The library no longer charges fines for overdue items to any patrons who check out items at our library. Items checked out at other libraries may still accrue overdue charges depending on an individual library’s policy. Lost and damaged items usually require the full replacement cost of the item. Fines for out-of-system interlibrary loans (ILLs) may vary and are determined by the lending library.

Wilmette Public Library is Fine Free!

Exciting news: we are Fine Free! Starting July 1, we will no longer be charging fines on overdue items checked out at our library. 

Wilmette Public Library is no longer charging fines for overdue items to any patrons (including those who visit us from other libraries) who check out those items at our library.

We have removed all existing fines for overdue Wilmette Public Library materials and we will no longer be charging fines for any materials checked out from the Wilmette Public Library in the future.

Being fine free removes barriers to accessing the library and helps us provide a more equitable experience for all people in our community. We want to encourage people to enjoy coming to the library and we believe that assessing financial penalties for late items is counterproductive to this goal.

Being fine free improves the checkout process by allowing our staff focus on more positive interactions with patrons. We want people to be excited about coming to the library, rather than worried about whether or not they owe a fine. We hope to welcome back anyone who felt discouraged about using the library because of a fine on their account.

Yes, each item will still have a due date, and you are still responsible for honoring the due date or renewing the item.  When you return items on time, it helps your neighbors borrow items sooner. To help you return items on time, we can send you reminders by email. You can set up email reminders in your library account.

While you will no longer be charged a fine, after a Wilmette Public Library item is two weeks overdue, your account will be blocked from any further checkouts until you return the item. The account block includes checking out physical items (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.), as well as access to our digital collections (including downloads from Libby, Hoopla, Kanopy, etc) and research databases.

If an item is more than 45 days past due, you will need to either return the item or pay the replacement cost to unlock your account.

Items borrowed from other libraries are subject to the lending policies of their home libraries.

Yes. If you check out an item from a library that has not gone fine free, you can still be charged a fine from that library. However, many area libraries have already made the decision to eliminate overdue fines, and others are considering it. Some of the area libraries that are fine free include Chicago, Evanston, Lake Forest, Niles-Maine, Northbrook, and Skokie.

Fines account for only a very small percentage (approximately .3%) of our operating budget, and this number has decreased over time. When we implemented our popular auto-renewal policy in 2018, we saw a dramatic reduction in overdue fines.

Libraries that have gone fine free have not seen any difference in when items are returned. Most items are returned within a week of their due date.

Each item still has a due date and borrowers are responsible for honoring the due date. If an item is more than two weeks (14 days) overdue after all permitted renewals are exhausted, borrowers will be restricted and will not be able to check out any additional items. Once the item is returned, the restriction is removed from the borrower’s account.

Borrowers will be blocked and not be able to check out any additional items if the account:

  • has accumulated fees and charges in excess of $10;
  • has items over 14 days overdue;
  • has lost items on the account;

Items not returned after 45 days overdue will be billed at the cost of replacement. If the borrower returns material after the account is settled, the replacement cost will be credited back to the account.

Blocked Status

Reasons you may have a blocked status on your library card include:

  • If an item is more than two weeks (14 days) overdue after all permitted renewals are exhausted, borrowers will be restricted and will not be able to check out any additional items. Once the item is returned, the restriction is removed from the borrower’s account;
  • If there are lost or damaged items on the account;
  • If items are not returned after 45 days overdue, you will be billed at the cost of replacement. If you find lost materials after your account has been billed, contact the Circulation department.  

Note that a blocked status prevents your library card number from authenticating with our digital services; you will not be able to access your e-books or other databases until the blocked status has been removed. 

Any questions about your library card status should be directed to our Circulation department: 847-256-6947.

Reciprocal Borrowing Privileges

If you retain a valid library card from a non-CCS library (e.g. Chicago, Arlington Heights, Skokie), you will be asked to present your current library card and 2 forms of identification (which display your address) in order to be added to the computer system and borrow items from Wilmette Public Library.

Non-Resident Cards

In 2006, the Library Board decided that the library…” will issue non-resident cards to homeowners and renters in (1) villages or unincorporated areas that do not have tax supported library service or (2) villages or unincorporated areas that have tax supported library service but wish to enjoy full service from WPL. A person residing outside of the public library service area must apply for a non-resident library card at the public library closest to the person’s principal residence.” A copy of the individual's current tax bill is needed to calculate the fee for a non-resident card.