SLC Public Library declares overdue fees are ‘ancient history,’ will stop charging patrons

SLC Public Library declares overdue fees are ‘ancient history,’ will stop charging patrons (File photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Procrastinatory bookworms and cinephiles rejoice! Overdue book fees have been eliminated at the Salt Lake City Public Library, effective July 1.

“Starting July 1, overdue fines at the Salt Lake City Public Library will be filed under the Dewey Decimal class 930 — ancient history,” a press statement released Tuesday read.

The library announced Tuesday it will no longer charge patrons 20 cents a day for an overdue book or 50 cents a day for an overdue movie. The Library’s Board of Directors approved the measure Monday.

The Board said it chose to approve the measure to keep people coming back to the library, and to ensure they keep checking out valuable resources.

“Under this fine structure, a parent who checks out a dozen books and two movies would owe $2.90 per day late — in just one week, that adds up to $23.80 in overdue fines,” the press release read.” The potential for taking on a large fine for a small infraction can keep community members from taking full advantage of their library’s collection, checking out fewer materials in order to keep their fine risk low. Others choose not to use their library at all.”

City Library Executive Director Peter Bromberg went so far as to suggest late fines are “in opposition to the Library’s core values of quitable service, fostering early literacy, and barrier-free access to information and services,” in a letter to the Board.

“Fines have not been shown to be an effective deterrent to the late return of materials,” Bromberg wrote. “However, fines have been shown to act as an inequitable barrier to service, disproportionately impacting children and community members with the least financial resources.”

The Library expects it will lose nearly $75,000 in yearly revenue after it eliminates late fines, which it said amounts to 0.3 percent of the Library’s $22.4 million budget.

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