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.

Did you know?

For every 4 overdue patrons, 3 people are waiting for materials on hold.

Overdue patrons are having a bigger impact than you may think. We took a look at some of our partner libraries, and found a surprising fact: overdue patrons are having a ripple effect on other patrons. On average, for every four overdue patrons, they have materials that three other patrons are waiting on in the library.

How big is the problem for your library? Check out our calculator tool to see.

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.

CS Pro Tip: Understanding Bankruptcy Reports

Understanding Bankruptcy Reports for Libraries For libraries that use Gentle Nudge from Unique, a situation that may arise is patrons filing for bankruptcy. While not an everyday occurrence, it requires a plan in place. Luckily, we have some tips for handling this. Bankruptcy filings by patrons can impact library operations and necessitate clear procedures for … Continue reading “CS Pro Tip: Understanding Bankruptcy Reports”

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?”

Partner with Unique

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

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NMLS # 936787

NV Collection Agency License # CAD11130

Nicole Atkins NV Manager License # CM11482