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Library Eliminates Late Fines

Post Date:07/27/2020 10:06 AM

The Greensboro Public Library announces that the Board of Trustees has approved a change in policy to eliminate fines for overdue books and materials. The new policy takes effect August 1 and includes the forgiveness of outstanding fines.

“The American Library Association has determined that the use of fines does not promote responsibility for returning items on time. Instead we find that the fear of fines makes it less likely that people of limited income will use library services in the first place,” says Library Director Brigitte Blanton. “Our goal is to remove unnecessary barriers that impact our most vulnerable customers.”

The elimination of fines is not unique to Greensboro as library systems across the country are adapting this policy. In a 2019 resolution the American Library Association stated, “…that imposition of monetary library fines creates a barrier to the provision of library and information services.”

The change in policy also means that Greensboro Public Library customers will no longer be excluded from using computers due to outstanding fines. However, customers are still responsible for lost or damaged materials.

“Since the Greensboro Public Library serves as a Conduit to DestinyTM in the community, I am very excited to see this change in policy. Overdue fines are widely recognized as a form of social inequity and that doesn’t make sense for an institution with a mission to provide free and equal access to information,” notes Blanton. “This move is also in step with initiatives from City Council and City Manager’s Office to help resolve historical inequities.”

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