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Book Worms Rejoice! Dallas Libraries Ditch Fines For Late Returns

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Good news for North Texans patronizing Dallas Public Libraries! The City Council has voted to abolish the practice of charging fines for items returned late.

The Director of Libraries, Jo Giudice, championed the change to get customers who haven't had access to services because of fines back in the library. "Late fines create barriers by punishing people who are unable to pay them," she said. "Eliminating fines is a step towards equity."

The change started immediately and late fines are no longer be assessed at any location in the Dallas Library System. Libraries are also working to zero-out existing balances, but that process could take weeks.

Dallas Public Library
(credit: Dallas Public Library)

Cardholders visiting the library, who had previous debts, can request to have their accounts cleared of fines for returned materials.

Under the fine-free rules, when an item is a week overdue, the account will be blocked from further checkouts. The replacement cost of the book plus a processing fee will be charged to the account. All of the fees will be waived and privileges restored as soon as the book is returned.

"I know there are people out there holding on to material because they know it's long overdue," said Giudice. "We want the customers and the books to come back. All is forgiven."

Library visitors who have lost items and don't have the money to pay to have them replaced can take part in special events twice a year that will allow cardholders to "work off" fees by volunteering or participating in other community activities.

Other changes in the Dallas Library System include eliminating fees for replacing lost library cards and looking up account numbers.

Library cards are free to all Dallas residents. Click here for more information on programs and services available at the Dallas Public Library.

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