Libraries Are Dropping Overdue Fines — But Can They Afford To?

If libraries get rid of fines, the benefits may outweigh the losses.

“The New York Public Library has joined the growing ranks of public library systems contemplating the end of overdue fines for children, according to a WNYC report.

A fifth of NYPL accounts held by children have been blocked due to unpaid fines, but the library president, Tony Marx, would like to motivate kids to be good library users without charging them for failures.

“We’ve heard stories of parents saying to their kids, ‘We don’t want you to borrow books because you might be late with them and then you’ll have fines to worry about,’” he told WNYC. In fact, overdue fines can end up keeping thousands of kids from accessing library resources, just because they’re unable to pay what they owe.”