By Tika Viteri, Sep 24, 2021
Almost any reader with a library card will be familiar with the concept of library fines.
Developing the ability able to return my books on time and not incur a fine was basically the only reason I ever learned to read a calendar as a child. Here is where I confess that despite having a calendar of my very own, I was still terrible at returning books on time and often spent my entire allowance on fines.
Libraries have been collecting fines since at least the late 1800s, originally using them to generate revenue for the library and also, in an example of strict father morality, to punish those who cannot adhere to arbitrary timelines.
When researching for this article, I was surprised to learn that research on going fine-free has been published since as far back as the 1970s. Similar to other movements involved with equality and equity, it took several decades — and in this case, a global pandemic — to put the idea across the finish line.