Following the lead of other major U.S. cities like San Francisco and Chicago, New York City’s public libraries announced they are doing away with late fee charges for overdue books and other materials, including waiving existing fines.
The decision provides a clean slate to hundreds of thousands of New York Public Library cardholders. More than half of the 400,000 people who couldn’t check out books because they owed at least $15 in fines live in high-need communities, according to officials. Those patrons will now be able to check books out again.
“Removing this antiquated barrier to access allows libraries to better fulfill their mission: making knowledge and opportunity free and accessible to all,” officials said in a press release.