NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Do you have a library book you haven’t returned in a while?
Well, there is good news. There are no more late fees for books and other materials at the three public library systems in New York City, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported Tuesday.READ MORE: NYPD: Knife Fight Spills Into Midtown Pizzeria, 2 Taken Into Custody
Amadu Sow had racked up some late fines for his handful of overdue books, so he was relieved to hear the news that those fees have been eliminated.
“They did? Good news. Oh my God,” the 25-year-old said.
One man admitted he, too, had some late returns.
“All the time,” he said with a laugh.
And he was equally happy to hear prior late fines were being wiped away, giving him a clean slate.
“Our goal is to make sure our customers feel empowered to take advantage of the service that we have,” said Dennis Walcott, president of the Queens Public Library.
Walcott said, previously, once a library card had more than $15 in fines, the card was then blocked.Overnight Gun Violence: 3 Men Shot In Queens, Innocent Woman Shot In Brooklyn, NYPD Says
In Queens, 65% of blocked accounts would’ve been teens ages 17 and under.
“When I was a kid I remember having late fines on my library card and I was scared to go to the library. I didn’t know how much I owed and people shouldn’t have that kind of anchor around their neck,” Walcott said.
In 2019, the library systems collected more than $3 million in late fines.
So how are they going to make due without that money?
“Over the pandemic, we waived late fines and so we gradually got better at managing what it would be like without late fines,” Walcott said.
No more late fines, but if you lose something there is a replacement fee. Materials are considered lost after being overdue for about a month, but if something is returned no fee will apply.
Library officials also want to remind people in addition to renewing materials in person you can also do so over the phone or online, Gainer reported.
They say it is important to return materials so that they can keep circulating them throughout the community.
New York City joined other major cities, like San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia, to name a few, that have gone fine free.MORE NEWS: Police Searching For Suspect After Woman Stabbed To Death On Long Island
For specifics at your local branch, check the website online.