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New York Public Library Does Away with Overdue Charges


New York Public Library Does Away with Overdue Charges

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Though I personally haven’t faced a tardy fee at a library, I recognize that some individuals may struggle to find the time or easily misplace their borrowed materials. Certain individuals may view the prospect of overdue charges as somewhat daunting, particularly those in less fortunate circumstances who may genuinely lack the means to cover them, leading them to steer clear of libraries altogether. The New York Public Library, one of the most renowned libraries globally, aims to enhance access to knowledge.

Recently, the New York Public Library disclosed its decision to entirely abolish the practice of imposing late fees on individuals who return items beyond the due date (albeit fines will still apply for any damaged or lost items). Furthermore, any existing library memberships carrying overdue fees will have their debts erased, enabling holders to submit any tardy materials without repercussions.

The library aspires that eliminating late fees will significantly contribute to “ensuring that all New Yorkers have unrestricted access to knowledge and opportunities.”

“Amidst the pandemic, it became even more apparent that we reside in a Story of Two Cities, with our most vulnerable residents frequently overlooked,” remarked New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx. “We must strive to uphold our commitment to granting access to knowledge and opportunities for all, and this entails addressing overdue penalties. They represent an outdated, ineffective means of urging patrons to return their items; they hardly serve as an incentive for those who can pay the fines. Conversely, for those unable to meet the costs—primarily low-income citizens of New York—they constitute a genuine access hindrance that we can no longer tolerate. This marks a stride towards a fairer society, with more New Yorkers engaging in reading and utilizing libraries, and we are delighted to realize this vision.”

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