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OC Public Library Eliminates Late Fines

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — For the first time in its 100-year history, OC Public Libraries have removed late fines for overdue items.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors last week approved the indefinite removal of library late fines. In the past, OC Public Libraries have offered special fine-free events in order to draw patrons back to the library.

"Eliminating late fines will incentivize residents to take advantage of county library resources once again and not be hesitant to take a book home during their next visit," Board Chairman Andrew Do said in a statement.

Cities with a high percentage of children living in poverty see a higher number of patrons blocked from using library services because of overdue fines, according to OC Public Libraries. During the pandemic, the system implemented the longest removal of late fines and found it had no impact on the library's budget, Supervisor Katrina Foley said.

"In reality, the fine system costs more to implement than the fines recovered, and it deters residents from using the libraries," she said in a statement. "It's time for a change."

Overdue fines were waived for all library cardholders as of Nov. 23. Library items will still have due dates, and eligible items will continue to be auto-renewed. However, the library will still collect fines for lost or damaged items.

OC Public Libraries is the latest library system to do away with fines, following in the footsteps of LA County, LA City, and Burbank.

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