Starting on January 1, the Denver Public Library will erase all fees and fines, for good.
It's happened to all of us at one point or another. You check out a book from the library, then you become a little too enamored in the story woven through the pages that you just can't put the book down, so you begin to accumulate some late fees along the way. However, starting on January 1, the Denver Public Library will officially say goodbye and close the book on fees and fines.
The Denver Public Library (DPL) hopes that by eliminating those fees and fines that it will remove barriers for "the most vulnerable families and individuals who can least afford them," according to Erika Martinez, DPL Director of Communications and Community Engagement.
"We know that sometimes life gets in the way of returning materials," said city librarian Michelle Jeske. "And we don't want people to stop coming to the library because they’re embarrassed or unable to pay. We want people using our resources, and we want items back so that others may borrow them, too."
Currently, there is a $0.20 daily overdue fee per late item, and fines stop after the 15th day overdue, resulting in a $3 maximum fee per item. The DPL's new policy will eliminate fines, but not allow customers to check out any further items until the late items (more than 14 days overdue) are returned.
Even though the late fees and fines policy is changing, this does not eliminate the fees necessary to replace lost or damaged items.
"Customers should make a habit of always returning items on or before the due date. It's not just the right thing to do, it's how libraries work," said Jennifer Hoffman of DPL's Books and Borrowing Department. "There is still a consequence for not returning an item on time; it just won't be in the form of overdue fines."
What do you think of this policy change? Are you for or against it? Sound off in the comments.