Public libraries have abolished fines – Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky 2021-10-15 17:24:15 –

Los Angeles, CA — More public libraries are removing late fees and clearing patron debt. This is happening nationwide, as access is so important, regardless of the size of the library.

John Szabo, a municipal librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library, said the no-fine policy came into effect in 2020.

“The public library is one institution that serves absolutely everyone in the community. We don’t want to create a barrier to access because this library belongs to all Angelinos. Wealthy Angelinos, Poor Angelinos, Documented, undocumented, homeless, homes of all ages. As you start talking to people about why you really escape the fines, access increases and often the families who need the library the most. The barrier to is removed. It was all pointing in the direction. It makes this decision. “

This is a national decision made by the library. According to the Urban Library Council, almost every state in the United States has at least one public library that is no longer fined.

The New York City Public Library is one of the latest in particular.

Many leaders, such as Michelle Mears, the director of the Rolling Hills Consolidated Library, have been fighting for this policy for years. A two-country library system in northwestern Missouri.

“It’s really uplifting and amazing to see a larger library leap to get rid of overdue fines,” said Mears, “in my history at the library, I I’ve worked hard to get rid of overdue fines in every public library where I worked, and I feel it’s time to embrace this policy in my first public library, with a population of 10,000. It’s a very small town, but I just said it wasn’t really necessary. It’s .6% of the total budget. If you abolish it, you won’t suffer. Perhaps the most difficult thing is a family with multiple children. You’ll see. Of course, kids are reading a lot of books, so instead of checking out one book at a time, they check out like six books at a time. Per book. At 10 cents, in a very short period of time per day, families may be considering overdue fines and grocery purchases. “

That’s just one of the reasons she fought as hard as she did. Whether in Los Angeles or a small town in Missouri, she says families in need should be at the forefront of decision-making.

“And the worst part is seeing parents bring their kids and hearing them say that you can only do one thing because you can’t afford these late fines. It was time to do it, “said Mears. And of course, it’s crazy or for late submissions, as children need books, need so many books, need to be surrounded by books, and shouldn’t be restricted. I was punished because of the potential for financial punishment. “

In this case, the child is most likely to be affected.

“Young people know that they will be able to use the library when their families, mothers and fathers have borrowed $ 19 or $ 22, which may not have been available before.” Szabo says. Said.

Szabo explains that he has been discussing this for quite some time. Five years ago, they tested it for two weeks to see what would happen.

“During those two weeks, about 70,000 items that had been postponed for a long time returned to the library. In those two weeks, 7,900 people registered on the library card. The most important number is those two weeks. During the period, more than 13,000 library accounts were unblocked and released to use the library again, “says Szabo.

Now, when they see this decision implemented, Mears and Sabo say it’s a move towards a more equitable society.

“We think of libraries as arts and culture organizations, educational organizations, immigrant integration organizations, and labor development. There is so much that libraries can do, they have their needs, and they can respond to the communities that actually influence them. “Sabo said.

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