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New Policy at New York Public Library Eliminates Late Fees

Credit: Unsplash

Although I’ve never experienced late fees at a library personally, I recognize that some individuals may struggle to return books on time due to busy schedules or forgetfulness. Late fees can be a deterrent, particularly for those in lower-income households who may not be able to afford them, leading to their avoidance of libraries. The renowned New York Public Library is aiming to enhance accessibility to knowledge.

This week, the New York Public Library disclosed its decision to do away with late fees for overdue books. However, fines will still apply for damaged or lost books. Moreover, individuals with existing late fees on their accounts will have their slates cleared, allowing them to return overdue materials without facing penalties.

The library’s objective is to promote equal access to knowledge and opportunities for all New Yorkers by eliminating late fees.

“Throughout the pandemic, the inequality in our society became more evident, leaving our most vulnerable populations behind,” remarked New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx. “We are committed to fulfilling our mission of providing knowledge and opportunities to everyone, which entails addressing late fees. Such fines are outdated and ineffective in promoting the return of borrowed items. They hardly serve as an incentive for those who can afford them. Conversely, for low-income individuals, late fees pose a significant access barrier that we can no longer ignore. This policy change is a step toward a fairer society where more New Yorkers engage with libraries and reading, and we are proud to implement it.”

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