Fairfax Co. libraries to do away with overdue fees

The libraries in Fairfax County, Virginia, will no longer charge overdue fees for most materials.

The library system said in a statement that the board of trustees voted to end the practice at its meeting last week; Chair Fran Milhouser called overdue fees a “significant barrier to equitable access to information and library services.”

Library staff are changing the system to forgive old fines and stop imposing new ones beginning Jan. 1, the library system said in the statement.

“Equity is driving our shift to a fine-free model of library services; we don’t want accrual of overdue fines to deter anyone who wants to use the library,” said FCPL Director Jessica Hudson.

The library system said it found that overdue fees hit hardest among young people and those from low-income areas.

And while it may seem counterintuitive, but the library system said other systems around the country, and in the area, have “experienced surges in returned materials” after getting rid of fines, and that cardholders continue to return materials promptly.

Fines will still be in effect for special collections, including interlibrary loan materials, Chromebooks and mobile hotspots.

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Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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