Philadelphia Free Library gets rid of overdue fines, wipes out old fines

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Free Library of Philadelphia is saying goodbye to fines in the hope of welcoming back more than 80,000 library cardholders who owed money.

The board of trustees voted in December to eliminate overdue fines. The policy went into effect on Friday.

It has also removed all historic overdue fines from customer records.

The new policy states that customers who do not return materials on or before the scheduled due date will first get reminders.

After 30 days, the materials will be considered lost.

Customers will be required to return, pay for, or replace lost or damaged items before they can check out more physical materials.

But they can still access digital items, participate in Library programming and enjoy in-person Library services.

"It's going to be a positive change in many ways, and I'm so proud that we'll be one of the largest library systems in the country to eliminate this penalty," said Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library.

As part of the announcement, the library system said the city has agreed to waive an annual payment from the library of $276,000 that was previously deducted from fine revenue.
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