GR library nixes fines on children material

Grand Rapids
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kids can say goodbye to overdue fines at the Grand Rapids Public Library.

Officials announced Wednesday overdue children and teen material will no longer accumulate fines. In addition, the library has forgiven old fines for this type of material.

Library accounts with more than $10 in fines are not able to check out materials. Officials say 5,175 library accounts were blocked due to overdue fines on materials geared towards young people, according to a press release from the GR Public Library. 

“Our goal is to emphasize the return of library material rather than penalizing our youngest patrons,” GRPL Director John McNaughton said in a release. “Using the library should not be a source of stress for families. Life gets complicated. Take an extra day or two if needed. We will still be here for you.”

Officials say 84% of all checked out library materials are brought back before the due date, and 74% of past due materials get returned within a week. Revenue from youth fines is less than one half of a percent of the library’s annual budget.

“The decision to eliminate fines on youth material is about equity and access,” McNaughton said in a statement. “We know that 75% of Grand Rapids Public School 3rd graders are not proficient in reading. This is a community problem that we can help solve. By removing a large barrier to using the library, we can get books in homes and help to develop a daily reading habit.”

Patrons are still responsible for the replacement cost for lost or damaged items.

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