‘We Wanted Our Patrons Back’ — Public Libraries Scrap Late Fines To Alleviate Inequity
“A form of social inequity”
“Acknowledging these consequences, the American Library Association passed a resolution in January in which it recognizes fines as “a form of social inequity” and calls on libraries nationwide to find a way to eliminate their fines.
“Library users with limited income tend to stay away from libraries because they may be afraid of incurring debt,” said Ramiro Salazar, president of the association’s public library division. “It stands to reason these same users will also stay away if they have already incurred a fine simply because they don’t have the money to pay the fine.”
Lifting fines has had a surprising dual effect: More patrons are returning to the library, with their late materials in hand. Chicago saw a 240% increase in return of materials within three weeks of implementing its fine-free policy last month. The library system also had 400 more card renewals compared with that time last year.”