Seattle is eliminating all overdue library fines next month

Dec 13 2019, 11:22 am

If you still have that one pesky library fine that’s keeping you away from the Seattle Public Library, your freedom is near.

Beginning on January 2, 2020, the Seattle Public Library will be giving everyone a fresh start in the new year by eliminating outstanding fines for overdue books and materials.

“We want everyone to have easy and equitable access to Library resources,” said Chief Librarian Marcellus Turner. “By removing this obstacle we are giving every resident in Seattle greater access to education and opportunity.”

The library aims to remove the financial barrier that may be deterring people who need the library most from visiting and using the Library, as it’s a great source to use to help with school work, to search for jobs, improve literacy skills and more.

The Seattle Public Library currently boasts one of the highest e-book circulation rates of any public library in the nation, which could be due to the fact that the service is already fine-free.

Turner emphasized that the Library still wants all materials back, and patrons will have the new option to receive notices to remind them when materials are due by text message.

Those who do not return materials 14 days after they are due will have their Library accounts suspended until they are returned, and charges will still be laid out for lost or damaged materials. Any item that isn’t returned after 31 days will be considered lost, and a replacement fee will be added to the borrowers’ account.

Turner said that he hopes that the new policy of not charging daily fines for overdue materials will encourage prior users to come back to the Library, as well as attract new patrons to explore the Library’s many resources and services.