Houston Public Library announces ‘free fines’ system and amnesty period

Suppose, hypothetically, that you did not return a certain book called Veterinarians and what they do because it is lost among the huge number of children’s books in your house. Let’s say, again hypothetically, that you now owe the Houston Public Library $26.95 in late payment, and you are prohibited from borrowing e-books until you pay.

Great news, library delinquents (yes, I’m one of them)! The Houston Public Library (HPL) is now a “free fines” system and is offering an amnesty period for returning overdue books to erase your payment record. Houston joins public libraries across the country that have decided to exempt patrons from past due fines and encourage borrowers who have avoided library visits due to unpaid bills to return.

“An excellent free library system levels the playing field and encourages Houstonians to become regular users of our Houston Public Library,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a press release Wednesday.

HPL found that approximately 25% of account holders owed fines, with 70% of them having been fined prior to 2015. No Penalties HPL hopes to allow account holders to reuse many of its resources, including mobile hotspots. and laptops connected to Wi-Fi.

“When you look at the numbers, you see that young people make up over 27 percent of users with fines, preventing them from accessing free learning resources and tools,” Taylor said. “Simply put, it’s the right thing to do.”

It’s not like late fees. Revenue from fines has accounted for less than one percent of the library’s budget over the past five years.

Before you decide you will never have to return a book to your local libraries again, there will still be a replacement fee for lost or damaged books not returned within 30 days of the due date. If you are a user with a library ticket, HPL is offering an amnesty period from January 17 to February 18 for regular patrons to return items to the library and then staff will clear their records.

Veterinarians and what they do finally freed from my child’s messy room and returned to its rightful place on the shelves. Hypothetically.

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