TAUSON, Maryland – As of July 1, renewal loan fees at the Baltimore County Public Library have been permanently terminated and outstanding cardholder balances have been removed.
Clients who may not have visited the library recently due to financial obligations or fear of accumulating late fees are advised to visit their local branch and start fresh.
With this new policy, cardholders will not face financial obligations for late returns. However, they will still be required to return expired books in order to check additional materials.
While cardholders will no longer incur late return penalties, they will still be responsible for replacement costs if an item is lost, damaged, or not returned, or a handling fee for not picking up held items.
“This is a huge milestone for the Baltimore County Public Library, and we are thrilled to join the cadres of other prestigious library systems across the country in adopting the no-fines model,” said Library Director Sonia Alcantara-Antoine. “Library fines create barriers to access and harm the people who need its resources and services the most. Eliminating unnecessary fees levels the playing field for all members of the community and it is very exciting to be part of this structural change. ”
The “no penalty” model promoted by the American Library Association (ALA) has become standard practice in many library systems, large and small, across the country. The ALA Ordinance on Monetary Libraries as a Form of Social Inequality states that “monetary library fines create an obstacle to the provision of library and information services.” The resolution also argues that “there is growing evidence that the elimination of fines is increasing the circulation of library cards and the use of libraries.”
The new policy, supported by County Executive Johnny Olszewski, was made possible by funding the county in FY2022 to offset costs.
“Obtaining a free permit will help eradicate injustice and further ensure that everyone feels welcome in their local library,” said County Governor John Olszewski.
Phase 4 of the library opening plan also begins today. My meetings with the librarian [forms.office.com] and intra-industry reference operations, classrooms, shared outdoor seating, intra-branch games, teen spaces, magazines and quiet rooms, permits and licenses, and mobile library services.
Virtual and limited outdoor programs continue, with Woodlawn and Rosedale Storyville due to open in mid to late July.