Fine Free Library Material Recovery

Fine Free Library Material Recovery

Fine Free Gentle Nudge® Material Recovery

Getting materials back into circulation and unblocking patrons has always been the focus of our Material Recovery service. For fine free libraries, that focus remains at the forefront of our process. With a specific set of letters, call scripts, our fine free approach focuses on what matters, and cuts out what doesn't.

Fine Free Libraries & Gentle Nudge® – A Perfect Combination

Listen as Andy Harp, Unique’s Director of Customer Service, discusses how our Gentle Nudge® approach perfectly compliments the goals of libraries who have chosen the fine free model of service.

What is


Libraries provide a crucial service to their communities, but in turn, depend on the patronage of the community to function. Therefore, our Gentle Nudge® process has been designed to meet the unique needs of libraries by effectively working to recover assets while preserving patron dignity and goodwill.

The Process Includes


Specifically designed letters with fine free verbiage are sent out to respectfully remind library patrons of their materials and reinforces the patron-library relationship.


Our specialists are trained to call patrons with a specific fine free script to remind them of their materials all while remaining cordial. 

Skip Tracing

We make use of the best skip tracing services to identify up-to-date addresses and phone number information.

Patron Engagement

Our goal is for all library patron contact to be influenced by the golden rule – “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.”

ILS Integration

We can provide automated tools that streamline the entire process.  This means little to no staff time is needed!


Our processes are spread across 90-150 days. We provide consistent, friendly reminders to return materials. 

From the Library

“I have been very pleased with using Unique’s services and wish to thank you for all that you have done to help our library with our recovery efforts on materials. The amount you recovered is half of my yearly budget for materials. As a small library with limited staff and limited resources, I don’t know what I would do without Unique.”

Renae Rountree, Director, Washington County Public Library

From the Library

“We’re extremely happy to be fine-free because it encourages more people, especially our families and youngest patrons, to use the Library. Having Unique Management as a partner to recover our long overdue Library materials is not only effective but reassures our community. that we’re holding people responsible for ultimately returning the Library materials.”

Susan F. Gregory, Director, Bozeman Public Library

Gentle Nudge® Features

Focus on Material Recovery

The process focuses on the recovery of overdue materials and unblocking patrons from the library.

No Additional Staff Time Required

Once set-up, the process becomes completely automated. This is allowed by Unique’s partnership with the ILS vendors.

Protect Patron Goodwill

All contacts are designed to be friendly and with the goal of the patron returning to the library with no effect to the library’s goodwill.


By the numbers

Client Libraries – 1,941

Assets Recovered – $1,157,763,566

Countries Serving – 5

Fine free and Unique Library

Did you know Unique works with libraries of all kinds – including fine free – to get materials back and patrons unblocked so they may return as users in good standing? Check out our posts below to see how Unique Library and fine free are not mutually exclusive.

Blocked Patron Reengagement

Blocked Patrons? Now What? The slippery slope When a patron fails to return an item or a few, you’ll send overdues, reminders, and then finally a bill. What happens then? If you are not partnering with Unique for Material Recovery, likely nothing happens with those patrons and a once valuable library patron is totally disconnected … Continue reading “Blocked Patron Reengagement”

Fines Free, is it Right for Your Library?

Key Points Worth Considering when Exploring the Switch to Fines Free: Staff Friendly– Fines Free with Unique means fewer transactions that reduce time staff spends with each customer and expedites lines at the circulation desk. Unique’s automated process streamlines the process when accounts are overdue.  This means increased efficiency and more flexibility.  Staff can be … Continue reading “Fines Free, is it Right for Your Library?”

Fines Free and Recovering Material – Not Mutually Exclusive

“Why am I receiving a bill? I’m not supposed to have fines.” Heard this before? Maybe your library is already a fines free library or you are considering changing your policies. A serious concern by many in your circulation department is the return of materials by patrons without alienating them in the process.   Unique works with the majority of fines free libraries and over 1800+ library systems worldwide to ensure … Continue reading “Fines Free and Recovering Material – Not Mutually Exclusive”

Partner with Unique

Unique can reduce workloads for managers and frontline staff, which in turn increases in-house efficiency.

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