[image-1] The Charleston County Public Library will no longer punish patrons for being a little late.
All 16 branches of CCPL have stopped charging the standard 20-cent-per-day late fee on books.
The fine-free policy has been in place since June 20.
According to CCPL Digital Content Coordinator Sam Tyson, the library didn’t want to make a fuss about it while they test out the policy. Other library items may be considered for fine forgiveness in the future, Tyson said.
For the year ending on June 30, 2017, CCPL received $279,548 in total fines. The fines only accounted for 1.68 percent of the library’s total revenue, according to last year’s financial report.
The move comes amidst a recent awakening about the social implications of library fines. Librarians, educators, and city officials want people to take advantage of this essential public service, but checking out a book can be cost-prohibitive for many low-income families.
Still, the new leeway doesn’t exactly mean you get to hoard library items in your dusty bookshelf forever. If a patron doesn’t return a book within 42 days of check-out, he or she will be billed for the full cost of the item. And patrons still have to pay any fines accrued before June 20. (You can pay overdue fees here.)
Non-new release books come with a loan period of 28 days. Newer books can be checked out for 14 days.
Multimedia items like audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray discs will still carry the standard fee. Telescopes and digital magnifiers will still to come with $5-per-day late fees.
“The change in the overdue fine policy was implemented to eliminate any barriers for our patrons to use our libraries and to access the wealth of materials and resources available,” Tyson told City Paper in an email. “The elimination of overdue fines is another way to serve our community and encourage those who might not regularly use the library to stop by and experience what we have to offer.”
You can check out CCPL’s new, updated fine schedule here.