BALTIMORE – One of the nation's oldest public library systems has eliminated all fines on overdue books and other materials.
Enoch Pratt Free Library President Heidi Daniel tells The Baltimore Sun that Monday's move is a goodwill gesture to the community, erasing $186,000 in unpaid penalties for 26,000 people. It also reinstates membership for 13,000 borrowers whose cards have been blocked.
The system is giving up around $100,000 in late fees collected annually, but will continue charging borrowers to replace books never returned.
Daniel says they've found fines disproportionately affect lower-income users, and impose a barrier to access, particularly for children and teens. And he says other libraries have reported higher circulation since abolishing fines.
Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com