Libraries across the United States are eliminating late fees for overdue books.
In Burbank, California, the Burbank Public Library became fine free on July 1, eliminating fees for overdue books and cancelling historical overdue fees.
Of the switch, the library wrote on its website, “This move is part of our efforts to improve equity of access. While fines for overdue items may seem like a small burden, they can create a major barrier to service for those who are struggling financially. Too many people have made the choice to stop using the Library because of inability to pay or fear of accruing fines.”
The library also stated, “Research has shown that fines are not effective in getting materials returned on time, and libraries that have eliminated fines have found that long overdue items come back and patrons who avoided the library for years start visiting again.” Fines won’t be charged for lost library cards, or holds that aren’t picked up, but will still be charged for lost or damaged checked out items.