New York Public Library Eliminates All Late Fees in Push for Equality

The nation’s largest public library system is ending late fees forever, a move intended to level the playing field for library patrons and encourage the use of library resources.

Effective immediately, the New York Public library system will not charge fines for overdue materials, and all library card holders have had their accounts cleared of any fees or fines.

Fines are “an antiquated, ineffective way to encourage patrons to return their books; for those who can afford the fines, they are barely an incentive,” New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx said in a news release.

“For those who can’t afford the fines — disproportionately low-income New Yorkers — they become a real barrier to access that we can no longer accept. 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.”

This announcement comes after major U.S. cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia and San Diego have all done away with late fees. The initiatives seem to be working — once the Chicago public libraries implemented the policy change, there was an increase in returned materials and library card renewals

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