Los Angeles Public Library to Eliminate Late Fines Starting Next Spring

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The Los Angeles Public Library in downtown L.A. on June 15, 2017. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Public Library in downtown L.A. on June 15, 2017. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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Bibliophiles, rejoice: late fees are about to become a thing of the past at the Los Angeles Public Library.

That’s because the library has decided to end overdue fines on books and other items beginning next spring, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Friday. When that happens, LAPL will become the largest public library in the nation to scrap the late fee.

Currently, overdue fines for items including books, magazines, audiobooks, cassettes, CDs, DVD’s and videos range from 15 cents to $1 per day, according to the library’s website.

Late charges incurred before the new policy is implemented will also be eliminated, according to a news release from the city. Additionally, the library will get rid of the $10 non-refundable service fee for lost items.

“We are ending these fines because patrons show care and integrity in the handling of these precious materials — and nothing should stand in the way of Angelenos who want to share in all the library has to offer,” Garcetti said in the release.

The city noted that such fines have typically hurt families and individuals with limited resources, often deterring them from checking items out of the library. Officials believe removing the fine will encourage and increase library use.

“At the Los Angeles Public Library, we are proud to serve the largest, most diverse population of any library in the nation,” City Librarian John F. Szabo said, according to the release. “By removing barriers and going fine-free, we will be better able to serve everyone in Los Angeles.”

In addition to waiving fines, LAPL is also upping the amount of times materials can be renewed, from two to three, unless another patron requests the item.

However, the new policy won’t change replacement costs, which will still be incurred when materials are overdue by more than 45 days from the last renewal, according to the release. And patrons will still have to pay for damaged materials.

The library does not anticipate the changes will impact the budget, according to the city.

The new policy was approved by the Board of Library Commissioners.

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