Young people and low income communities set to benefit from removal of fees
New Yorkers will no longer be fined for returning books and other materials beyond their due date after the biggest library system in America announced changes to its return policy.
It means that there are longer fines for returning books and other materials loaned from New York’s three public library systems, and for all five boroughs, which is thought to be the biggest in the US.
The move will also allow fairer access to public libraries in New York, with all fines being wiped out on roughly 400,000 accounts, the library said.
Mr Marx, president of New York’s library, said that fines were “an ineffective way to encourage patrons to return their books [和] for those who can afford the fines, they are barely an incentive”.
But fines “disproportionately low-income New Yorkers” and so “become a real barrier to access that we can no longer accept”, Mr Marx added.
“This is a step towards a more equitable society, with more New Yorkers reading and using libraries, and we are proud to make it happen.”
According to the press release, the library branches with the highest percentage of blocked cards were all in low income communities, 和 30 per cent of blocked cards belonging to youths aged under 17.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio added in a statement: “Eliminating fines will let us serve even more New Yorkers, allowing them to enjoy all of the resources and programs that public libraries offer to grow and succeed.”
As part of the announcement, libraries across New York are holding a week of giveaways and special programs that is hoped will encourage people to return after a pro-longed shut down during Covid.
Similar measures have already been seen in cities such as Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Miami-Dade, although New York is the largest library system to remove fines.