America's largest public library system announces the abolition of late fees, saying 'fines are outdated'



On October 5, 2021, three public library systems in New York, the largest public library system in the United States, jointly announced that they would abolish late fees for rented books. This ensures that New Yorkers will not be charged late fees or blocked their cards if they are overdue.

One Fine Day: New York City's Three Public Library Systems Eliminate Late Fines | The New York Public Library

New York Public Library ends all late fees: NPR

Most public libraries in Japan do not collect late fees, but in the United States and the United Kingdom, users who continue to borrow materials beyond the return deadline may be fined. A fine system has been introduced in the public library in New York since its establishment in the early 20th century, and if a late fee of $ 15 (about 1600 yen) or more is incurred, the card cannot be used. As of October 2021, about 400,000 New Yorkers have been suspended, and more than half of them are poor with low household income.


Peter Miller

In light of this situation, the New York Public Library announced on October 5 that it will eliminate late fees in collaboration with the Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library in New York City. As a result, the history of late fees has been deleted from the accounts of all users who were previously charged with late fees.

According to the announcement, the three libraries are the largest public library system in the United States that has abolished late fees. New York City is also said to be the largest municipality in the country that has abolished late fees for libraries.

'This announcement is a big step towards making the public library, the center of many communities, accessible to everyone. By eliminating fines, more New York City,' said Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City. We can serve our citizens and give them a chance to grow and succeed. '

The New York Library stopped collecting late fees because a small amount of late fees did not have the effect of encouraging those who could afford to return the materials, but the poor, who should have needed the most libraries. This is because the current situation is that people are locked out of the library. For example, in an annex of the New York Public Library in an area with a median household income of $ 50,000 or less, the number of people whose book cards have been suspended is six times that of other annexes. It is said that it is. The Queens Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library also tended to have lower median household incomes in all regions with the highest number of card suspensions.

This tendency is particularly noticeable for users over the age of 17, and about 30% of users whose cards were blocked were children and teenagers. In addition, according to a survey conducted in 2017, 80% of adolescent users whose cards were blocked were in the low-income group.

While late fees had the negative effect of keeping poor people away from learning, they stopped collecting late fees for over a year as a pandemic countermeasure for the new coronavirus, allowing the library to operate without late fees. It turned out that there was no major problem with the virus.

From this point of view, Anthony Marks, director of the New York Public Library, said, 'The pandemic is more than ever that we are living in the world of the'two- city story'and the most vulnerable citizens are being left behind. Clarified. To fulfill our mission of giving knowledge and opportunity to everyone, the problem of outdated and ineffective late fees is inevitable. Late fees are for those who can afford them. It's pointless, but it's an obstacle for low-income citizens to access books. '

In the United States, there has been a widespread movement to eliminate late fees, and in 2019, libraries in Chicago and San Francisco abolished late fees . As a result of these efforts, it has been reported that in Chicago, instead of increasing book delinquency, the number of returned books has increased dramatically.

A case where the number of books returned increased sharply after abolishing the fine for book delinquents in the library --GIGAZINE

by Teresa Grau Ros

in Note, Posted by log1l_ks