Following into the steps of Chicago, and Los Angeles, Philadelphia’s library system has officially joined the movement of ending the policy of charging patrons for past-due materials, also eliminating any existing overdue fines from library cards.
The library’s former policy imposed fines of 25 cents a day for a late book. Once members owed $5, their library privileges were restricted. Now, those who don’t return their books on time will receive reminders that the items are due, and their cards will be blocked until the materials are returned or renewed.
By going fine-free, the library is welcoming nearly 88,000 cardholders who are currently unable to take full advantage of the library due to owing fines. Additionally, the library is also anticipating increases in circulation, an uptick in library card sign-ups, and more overall visits to libraries throughout the city. And these estimations are completely fair, considering that Chicago’s elimination of fees contributed to a 240% increase in book returns over a three-week period.