Seattle Public Library’s is turning the page on a new year and announcing it will no longer charge patrons for overdue books. It will also erase all overdue fines for library users to date.
The change is effective as of Jan. 2, 2020.
“We’re taking away the shame, the blame, and the stress,” said Rick Sheridan, director of Institutional and Strategic Advancement for SPL. “If you’re a little bit late in returning that book, that’s okay, we want you to come back.”
Seattle is following other library systems nationwide that have done away with overdue fines. Research shows fines have little impact on when materials are returned, Sheridan said.
As of Thursday, 51,000 patrons whose accounts were blocked due to overdue fines can now return to the library system, Sheridan said.
There will still be some rules, though, to ensure everyone is able to access the materials they need.
Library goers will now be able to renew items up to three times if no one else is waiting for them. The library will send reminders via email, text, and phone to help borrowers remember to make their returns.
If you do not return an item within 14 days after it’s due, your library account will be suspended until the item is returned. The library will consider an item lost if it’s not returned after 31 days past its due date. Patrons will be responsible for replacement fines if the item is damaged or lost.
Patrons can find details on the new policies here.
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