Philadelphia Free Library dropping overdue book fees

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Free Library of Philadelphia wants people to be able to access books without the concern of late fees.

The Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to approve a measure that would eliminate most overdue fines throughout the Free Library system.

"We are delighted to be able to join many libraries across the country in removing overdue materials fines as a barrier for customers," said Board of Trustees Chair Pamela Dembe.

The board says it is looking forward to welcoming back delinquent customers and their long-missing materials.

There will still be fees for books that are lost or destroyed.

The policy approved by the Board of Trustees states:

"Effective at a date to be determined: The Free Library of Philadelphia does not charge fines for most overdue materials. There are fees for items that are lost or destroyed. The fees are the cost of the item, as listed in the catalog. The Library also accepts new or gently used copies of lost or destroyed material as replacement in lieu of payment. If lost materials are returned or replaced, there is no penalty. The language of this policy supersedes that of existing policies."

The library has not yet determined a start date for the new policy.

The Free Library of Philadelphia will remain under the current fine policy until training for staff and technical and logistical implementation can be completed.

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