300 W. Merrill St. Birmingham, MI 48009 | (248) 647-1700

Borrowing Information

Wondering how long you can keep your checked-out materials? Take a look at the chart below to become familiar with our loan periods and renewal policies.

If you need an item that is currently checked out, see below for information about placing a hold.

Looking for an item that isn’t owned by Baldwin?  Try requesting it through MeL or Interlibrary Loan.  You can also submit a Purchase Suggestion and our librarians will consider adding the item to Baldwin’s collection.

Baldwin is a fine-free library!  

Fine-free at Baldwin means:

  • You will not be assessed a daily fine for overdue materials
  • You are still responsible for returning materials on time.
  • You will still receive courtesy reminders to return your items. Items will still have due dates.
  • All past overdue fines have been removed from your account. If you have a fine that still appears on your account, please ask to speak to a supervisor at the Circulation Desk.

Our goal is to ensure everyone can enjoy all the materials the Library has to offer. Fines are more punitive than supportive, and do not provide a significant amount of income to the Library. Overdue fines prevent some patrons–especially young ones–from checking out items. The public library model has always been based on trust between borrowers and a valued community resource. We believe as long as our materials are returned, there is no longer a need to charge overdue fines.

More information about this policy change can be found at the bottom of the page.

Location - View Map

300 W. Merrill St.
Birmingham, MI 48009

Library Hours

Monday–Thursday: 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Friday & Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Upcoming Closures

May 25-27: Closed


Item Type Loan Period Renewal allowed?*
Hot Picks Books 2 weeks No
Hot Picks DVDs & BluRays 2 days No
Feature, Classic, and World DVDs, BluRays, & 4K Blu-Rays 1 week Yes
Internet to go kits 1 week Yes
Magazines 1 week Yes
Video Games 1 week Yes
Youth Holiday DVDs 1 week Yes
TV Series DVDs, BluRays, & 4KBlu-Rays 2 weeks Yes
Audiobooks 3 weeks Yes
Battle and Birbery Books & Audiobooks 3 weeks Yes
Books 3 weeks Yes
Hot Spots 3 weeks No
Music CDs 3 weeks Yes
Nonfeature and Exercise DVDs, Blu-Rays, & 4KBlu-Rays 3 weeks Yes
Youth Holiday Books 3 weeks Yes
Youth Launchpads and Skill Builder kits 3 weeks No
Youth Magazines 3 weeks Yes
Youth Puppets 3 weeks Yes
Youth Series DVDs 3 weeks Yes
Toys 3 weeks No
Book Club Books 5 weeks Yes
Mel & Interlibrary Loan Varies Varies

*Most eligible items may have four renewals

Patrons with fees totaling $10.00 or greater will have their library privileges suspended. Please note that any lost/damaged item incurs a charge for the full replacement cost as it was set when we purchased the item. Replacement costs for MeL and Interlibrary Loan items are set by the lending library, not by Baldwin, and must be paid for with a check or money order made out to the lending library.  Visit our page “Pay fees online” for more detailed information about fees.

Click Here to Pay Fees Online

Item Limits

We do not limit the number of items checked out except for Video games, which have a limit of 6.


Are you looking for an item that’s not available when you need it?  Place a hold!  Holds can be placed on any item except Hot Picks books, Hot Picks DVDs/BluRays, or puppets.

Holds can be placed in person, by phone, or online. To place a hold online, search Baldwin’s catalog and select the title you would like to place on hold. Type in your library barcode (or Alt ID) and PIN. You will then be given instructions to complete the process.  Please note that while we have recently extended hold services to our Reciprocal cardholders, priority in the hold queue is reserved for Baldwin cardholders.

If you have an email address registered at the library, you will receive email notification when the item is available for you; otherwise, a notice will be mailed to you. Holds last for one week and may be picked up from the hold shelf across from the Circulation Desk. You may use our self-check machines to check out Baldwin items on hold for you.

If you wish to have someone pick up a hold that has been placed on your account, you must contact the Library and provide the name of the person who is authorized to pick up materials on your behalf. This permission may be revoked at any time by contacting Library staff.

You may also call to have on-shelf items pulled and held for three days.  Contact Adult Services at 248-554-4650 or Youth Services at 248-554-4670.

Why go fine free?

It is good for our community. Our community is stronger and healthier when all people have access to the Library programs, services, and materials they need to pursue their educational, career, family, and life goals. Once someone owes a late fine, they are less likely to visit the library again, and the fear of owing late fines can cause patrons to not borrow the items they need. We hope being fine free will encourage prior users to come back to the Library as well as encourage new users to explore our offerings.

It is good for our relationships with our patrons. When you visit Baldwin, we want to focus on helping you, not question you about late fees. Going fine free makes a trip to the Library a pleasant, positive experience for both you and our staff.

Late fines are not effective. Studies* have shown that small fines have no impact on return rates. According to “Removing Barriers to Access,” a Colorado State Library whitepaper, “The scant research on the impact of library fines and fees does not indicate a clear benefit to administering these policies.” Libraries who have removed late fees report few adverse effects on material return rates – in fact, they have actually experienced an increase in return rates after the adoption of fine free policies.

Libraries that have adopted fine-free policies find that:

  • Library card registrations increase.
  • Borrowing of materials increases.
  • More library items are returned.
  • Students return to the library to use homework resources.
  • Staff time is redirected from fines-handling to patron-focused services.



  • https://endlibraryfines.info/
  • https://www.coloradovirtuallibrary.org/resource-sharing/eliminating-fines-faqs/https://www.npr.org/2019/11/30/781374759/we-wanted-our-patrons-back-public-libraries scrap-late-fines-to-alleviate-inequi?fbclid=IwAR0hrJgNXoTgUsuHV5l-LmdTD14EuksKP NtOCYYGlXeIxDVhSnYNL0fnuzo
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2018/06/15/7ad6f80e-709d-11e8-afd5-778aca 903bbe_story.html?noredirect=on
  • http://www.ala.org/aboutala/sites/ala.org.aboutala/files/content/governance/council/coun cil_documents/2019_ms_council_docs/ALA%20CD%2038%20RESOLUTION%20ON%2 0MONETARY%20LIBRARY%20FINES%20AS%20A%20FORM%20OF%20SOCIAL%2 0JUSTICE%20Revised%201_27_0.pdf
  • https://sfpl.org/uploads/files/pdfs/commission/Fine-Free-Report011719.pdf
Is EVERYTHING free of overdue fines?

Yes!  Books, movies, audiobooks, magazines, Internet to Go kits, magnifiers, Launchpads, bike locks – everything we loan is fine-free.

What is the difference between a fine and a fee?

Overdue fines are daily charges applied to items not returned by their specified due date.  These are the fines that will no longer be assessed to patrons. Fees are for library services and products such as replacement library cards, copying, printing, material replacement costs, etc. and are still applicable.

Do I still have to pay a fine that was on my account prior to Baldwin going fine free?

If you’ve returned all materials previously checked out from Baldwin, your fine has been waived.  You are still responsible for any overdue fines that have accrued on your account at other TLN libraries.  

Fines have been waived, so why does my account still have a balance?

Even though Baldwin is eliminating overdue fines, fees for lost or damaged materials still apply and will still be assessed.

Does this mean there are no due dates on items?

“No fines” does not mean “no responsibility.” Our current due date system still applies. Baldwin will continue to send you courtesy reminders (by text, email, and/or mail) to return your items. It is the patron’s responsibility to notify the Library of any changes in their contact information or notification method.

How will the Library ensure that patrons return borrowed items?

If an item is not returned within/by 10 days of the due date, the patron’s borrowing privileges will be suspended. 30 days after the due date, the patron will be charged a fee for the value of the book and an additional $10 nonrefundable collection fee. At this point a collection agency will take over the responsibility of retrieving the items. The patron will no longer be able to borrow materials, use the public computers, or access digital resources and databases until either the entire bill is paid or the billed items are returned and the collection fee is paid

How will the Library protect the community’s investment?

Baldwin is funded mainly through local taxes and provides a diverse and responsive collection of materials to our community. If items are damaged or lost, we will assess a fee to replace the material. If a patron’s replacement fees accrue to over $10, their account will be blocked and they will be unable to borrow more materials, use the public computers, or access any of Baldwin’s digital resources and databases.   

Will I still receive reminders about returning materials?
Reminder Email and/or text 3 days before item is due
Overdue Email and/or text 7 days overdue
Overdue by Mail 14 and 21 days overdue
Overdue Bill by Mail

30 days overdue; Patron billed for replacement cost

Collection Notice by Mail

60 days overdue; Patron account is referred to collection agency

What if I am not finished with my material?

Almost all Baldwin items are renewable four times, as long as there aren’t any holds. Our automatic renewal service means Baldwin will renew all eligible items for you!  If your item did not renew, please call the Circulation Desk at 248-554-4620 or email bplcirc@baldwinlib.org for assistance.

Please note: some items cannot be renewed: Launchpads, Interlibrary Loans, and Hot Picks, as well as any items on hold for other patrons. These items need to be returned on time. Thank you!

How will this affect the library's budget?

Overdue fines accounted for less than 0.5% of the Library’s overall income in past years and going fine free will not have a significant impact on the Library’s budget moving forward.

I have always thought of fines as my gift to the library. How can I donate now?

Donation forms are available at the Circulation Desk.  Your donation will support critical Library programs and services.  Thank you for continuing to give to the Library!

What happens if I don’t return my items on time?

You will be unable to check out additional items if your materials are overdue by more than 10 days.  If you return the overdue items within 30 days of the due date, you will have your library privileges restored automatically.

You will be billed the replacement cost for any items that are damaged or overdue by 30 days. At this point not only will you be unable to check out additional items but you will also be unable to use our digital resources and public computing services. If you pay the bill or return the items, in good condition, within 30 days of the billing date, you will have your library privileges restored.

Accounts owing more than $50 will be sent to collections if the materials are not returned or paid for after 30 days from the billing date. A $10 nonrefundable collection agency processing fee will be billed to your account. This information is NOT reported to credit bureaus. If you return the items, in good condition, within 60 days of being referred to collections, the replacement costs will be cleared from your account, but the collection agency processing fee will remain.  Once that fee is paid, your library privileges will be restored.  Payment of the entire bill in full will also restore your library privileges. 

Past replacement fees for lost or damaged items still apply.



Free Two-Hour Parking in Chester Street Deck

Metered street parking around Library

Free Parking on Sundays


300 W. Merrill St.
Birmingham, MI 48009

Library Hours:

Monday – Thursday: 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Friday & Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Sunday: 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Upcoming Closures:

May 25-27: Closed

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