Food for Fines


Food For Fineds - November 15 to December 31From November 15th until December 30th, San Mateo County Library and Redwood City Libraries will partner with Second Harvest Food Bank to offer a fantastic Food for Fines Program. A food for fines program allows you to have all of your library fines waived through food donations at participating libraries.

Why a Food-For-Fines Program?

Our libraries recognize that in these economic times, many families in our communities need the added support of great organizations like Second Harvest. We also recognize that many people need to use the library to check out materials to get help with employment, career guidance, college and school help, as well as to access our entertainment collections.

And, we recognize that due to high fines or unreturned materials, some people aren't able to use the library. The Food-for-Fines program will help people eliminate their fines, return to the library, and help out a great organization. All this while at the same time--saving the library money in materials that it won’t have to re-purchase.

How Can I Participate?

Participation is simple in this great program! If you have large fines or hold fees, all you need to do is make sure that all of your overdue library materials are returned. If they have been, just bring non perishable and unexpired food items to one of the participating libraries.

No Limits

There is no limit to the amount of food that will eliminate your fines. However, at least one food item must be used per library account to clear your fines. There is nothing stopping you from bringing as much as you can to help out at this important time of year.

What Kinds of Fines Will My Donations Clear?

You can clear your fines and hold fees accrued with San Mateo County Library and Redwood City Libraries only. Fines do not include printing charges, damaged item charges, replacement charges, lost or missing items, or other service charges. The materials must be returned in good condition for your fines to be cleared.

But I Don’t Have Library Fines

Even if you don’t have any library fines, you can still participate in this program!

You can bring non perishable and unexpired food items to any of our participating libraries or drop them off directly at the Second Harvest Food Bank. Your donations efficiently provide food through Second Harvest’s innovative direct-service programs and through their collaboration with a network of 326 partner non-profit agencies operating at more than 700 different food distribution sites.

Partner agencies include shelters, pantries, soup kitchens, children's programs, senior meal sites, and residential programs.

Quick Details: Starts November 15th

  • Program will begin November 15th and end December 30th.
  • Only non perishable food items that are not expired.
  • Any amount of donated food waives all overdue fines and hold fees for one account.
  • Food donations cannot be applied towards lost/damaged items, Unique collection or printing fees.
  • Only valid for fines and fees belonging to San Mateo County Libraries and Redwood City Libraries.
  • Accept store sealed items only.
  • No open or glass containers (glass can break in the bin).
  • Fines will be waived when items are donated.


Author Bio:

Patrick Sweeney is a pirate. When he’s not sailing the salty sea, he’s working landside as captain and commander of the East Palo Alto Library.

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