Metropolitan Library System removing fines overdue for one year

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – If you return a book a little late to the Metropolitan Library System, organizers say you don’t have to worry about a fine anymore.

Beginning July 1, the Metropolitan Library System will launch a one-year pilot program with no overdue or overdue fines on materials intended for adults and young adults.

“The elimination of the Metropolitan Library System late payment fines is a change that will reduce community disparities and increase access to the library and its resources for those who need it most,” said MLS Executive Director , Dr. Larry Nash White. “The library’s mission is to share information, not to generate income. ”

Organizers say overdue fine revenues currently represent less than 1% of the library’s annual operating budget.

Officials say customers will still have to return the items they check.

If an item is not returned within 60 days of its due date, it is considered lost and will be charged to the customer.

Additionally, while there will be no late fees on MLS-owned books and materials, organizers say experience passes, interlibrary loan materials, and tech items like that Wi-Fi hotspots and Chromebooks will still be subject to fines.

In addition to its one-year fine-free pilot program, MLS is offering all customers a one-time exemption from overdue MLS fines, totaling over $ 400,000 as of July 1, 2021. This exemption will only apply to overdue fines; it will not apply to charges for lost or damaged items on customer accounts. Between 40,000 and 50,000 customers are expected to benefit from this overdue fine exemption.

“Our goal is to give our customers back access to the library,” White said. “If you’ve stayed away from the library due to overdue fines, we want you to come back. “

The overdue fines on all children’s equipment were permanently abolished in 2020.

“This is something we’ve been thinking about for years as more and more libraries are functioning well for free,” said Chris Kennedy, deputy director of public service for MLS. “This ensures that we provide equal access to books and materials to each of our clients. ”

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