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Library systems to drop late fees for good

St. Louis’ two largest library systems are going fine-free starting this month.

St. Louis County Library [SLCL] and St. Louis Public Library [SLPL] announced they will no longer charge fines on late materials beginning in the new year.

Eliminating fines will allow patrons greater access to all of the resources available at the library including books, DVDs, online classes, eMedia and more, officials with the two entities have said. Cardholders still will be responsible for returning items and paying for any lost or damaged materials.

“We are always looking for ways to remove barriers and increase access to library materials and services,” St. Louis County Library Director Kristen Sorth said. “Removing overdue fees helps make the library’s resources more accessible and supports literacy efforts for our entire community.”

St. Louis County Library’s Daniel Boone Branch in Ellisville

St. Louis Public Library CEO Waller McGuire said, “Public libraries provide vital resources and life enrichment throughout our communities. Individuals, families, businesses, adults, children – the world comes through our doors and networks. Our boards voted to open more doors by eliminating fines. It is a wonderful gift for St. Louis and a great step forward for the region.”

The Board of Trustees for both libraries approved the elimination of fines in December 2019. Revenue attributed to fines has fallen steadily in recent years. The boards decided on the change as a way of reducing barriers and increasing equity for library users.

Patrons at SLCL will still receive reminders to return materials. An email notice is sent two days before items are due, at that time eligible items will be automatically renewed. Email notices for overdue items will be sent at several intervals prior to an item reaching 45 days overdue, at which time SLCL will bill the patron for the cost of the item. If a patron returns a billed item, no overdue charges will be assessed.

To learn more about borrowing at SLCL, including digital assets, visit www.slcl.org.

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