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New York City Public Library Ends Late Fees & Receives More Than 21,000 Overdue Items

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Last October the New York Public Library system decided to get rid of late fees in order to increase patrons. The result was not only an uptick in visitors, but a wave of overdue books, DVDs, and other materials. Sometimes accompanied by sorry notes.

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“Since last fall, more than 21,000 overdue or lost items have been returned in Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx, some so old that they were no longer in the library’s systems,” according to a new report from the New York Times, ‘The Library Ends Late Fees, and the Treasures Roll In.’ “About 51,000 items were returned in Brooklyn between Oct. 6 through the end of February. And more than 16,000 were returned in Queens. (Libraries are still charging replacement fees for lost books.)”

For some people, these late fees were a huge deterrent to going to the library. Time would slip away from them and suddenly they would end up with huge fees on anything from a children’s book to a DVD. For single mothers and others, $50 was a huge amount of money.

Ms. Montefinise recalled one patron at a branch in Dongan Hills, Staten Island who, upon returning some late children’s books, couldn’t believe the news and asked for a receipt to show his wife as proof.

“I can’t tell you how stressed out these fines made our customers,” said Tienya Smith, a librarian who runs the branch in Long Island City, Queens. “Not having these fees erases all of that.”

Now, with the fees wiped people are actually returning things and engaging with the public library system again. As someone who also accrued late fees and wanted to return them, but couldn’t afford to as a teenager—I get how it stops you from being able to access the library.

I am glad that more people will have access to the system and learn that having fun isn’t hard if you’ve got a library card.

(via New York Times, image: Disney)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.