Library to No Longer Assess Extended Loan Fees for Youth Accounts
March 08, 2021 | By Baltimore County Public Library
Effective Monday, March 8, Baltimore County Public Library will no longer charge extended loan fees for cardholders under 18 years old. All fines and fees on more than 13,000 youth accounts* are in the process of being cleared and blocked accounts reinstated.
This change aligns with Baltimore County Public Library’s strategic plan objective to provide equitable access and removal of barriers to library materials and services and aligns with extended loan fine-free policies of libraries throughout the country. While a fine-free model is in the process of being evaluated, extended loan fees for adult accounts remain in place at this time.
Though extended loan fees will not be assessed, cardholders are encouraged to be mindful of due dates and to renew items if necessary. Popular items regularly have a list of cardholders waiting and it is the library’s goal to have items back in circulation as soon as possible. Lost or damaged items for all accounts will have a replacement fee assessed.
“Removing these fees will help to reduce barriers keeping some Baltimore County children from accessing all the books, materials and services the library has to offer,” said Baltimore County Public Library Director Sonia Alcántara-Antoine. While we want materials returned in a timely manner for those waiting, penalizing children for late materials is not the answer.”
The timing of this policy change is the result of the House of Delegates and Senate overriding the Governor’s veto of the “Building Lifelong Library Learners Act” in early 2021. In 2019 the American Library Association passed a resolution citing mounting evidence that eliminating fines increases library card adoption and library use. The resolution also recognized fines as a form of “social inequity” and urged libraries to actively “move toward eliminating them.”
Alcántara-Antoine added, “Libraries open up new and magical worlds for children, and we hope that any child who has not been able to utilize the library because of a fine will have a library book in their hands this week!”
*This is for youth accounts and not for youth materials checked out on adult accounts.