Got a stack of overdue young adult novels or children’s picture books that didn’t quite make it back on time over the holidays? There’s nothing to fear if they were checked out from an Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL)– your fines have been erased.
The library system just announced that going forward, all children’s and teens’ books, movies and music are now fine-free. The library has also waived $754,637 in old fines and fees for customers under 18 and outstanding late charges on children’s and teens’ materials checked out on adults’ accounts. More than 33,000 people received the New Year’s surprise, saving, on average, $22.
County Executive Steuart Pittman and AACPS Superintendent George Arlotto joined a group of 42 preschoolers from Park Elementary to share the news.
“Eliminating the burden of debt on the backs of children and young adults who want to use library resources is a great step,” said Pittman. “This initiative is a great fix to breaking down barriers, especially among our most vulnerable county residents.”
“The library offers so many different opportunities for our students and everyone else to expand their horizons,” Arlotto said. “Removing this potential obstacle is one more step to ensuring that children are excited about visiting.”
While you no longer have to worry about fines for children and teen materials, items are still expected back at the library in a timely fashion in the condition they left.
“Fines are a barrier that disproportionately impact people without the means to pay,” said AACPL CEP Skip Auld. “As a public institution, we have a responsibility to make our items available to as many people as possible. Removing these fines (while still requiring the items to be returned) will allow more people to enjoy our materials for education, enrichment and inspiration.”
Calvert Library system adopted a fine-free policy last year.