In hopes of getting back books, Chicago libraries offering a break on fines

SHARE In hopes of getting back books, Chicago libraries offering a break on fines

If you consider library fines as donations to a good cause, which they certainly are, then this will come as some bad news.

The Chicago Public Library has announced a “Welcome Home” book amnesty running from now through Feb. 18. Bring in those books lost under the bed, held so long that you’re embarrassed to return them and horrified at the thought of the tab they’ve run up (which might not be as much as you think; the library charges 25 cents for each day a book is overdue, though fines are capped at $10).

“Whether they’re five days or five years late, we’ll waive your fines,” library officials said in announcing the woeful tiding.

And if you’ve lost an item completely, just pay for its replacement, and the library will forgive the fines you racked up, and you can return to being a patron in good standing, as opposed to being a library pariah who can’t even check a book out.

“This program allows the library to recover assets, but it is also meant to give people with overdue materials a chance to start over with a clean record, no matter how long the items have been checked out or the reasons for not returning them,” said Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. “It aligns with our commitment to lowering the barriers to library use and providing basic access for all Chicagoans, especially those most in need of our services.”

For those wondering how, in these cash-strapped days, the public library can afford to forgo the money that the fines represent, these amnesties are actually a money-maker. In 2012, when the last one was held, the library waived $641,000 in fines — but it got back 100,000 overdue items worth $2 million.

Also, 40,000 borrowers whose cards had been blocked because of the fines were able to renew use of the library, hence the “Welcome Home” theme of the amnesty.

The Latest
With additions of USC and UCLA in 2024, conference will go from coast to coast — all in the name of money.
Minnesota scored four times in the 10th inning to drop the Sox 5 1/2 games back in the AL Central.
Reliever David Robertson walked in the tying run in the ninth inning of the Cubs’ 5-2 extra-innings loss to the Brewers on Monday.
Police identified the shooting suspect as Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, a 22-year-old who remained on the loose for more than eight hours after the attack in the affluent suburb’s downtown area.
Among the fatal attacks, a woman was killed and a gunman was among two others wounded in a shootout Friday night in Chinatown, Chicago police said.