If You Owe an Overdue Book Fine in San Francisco, You’re Off the Hook

Just kindly return that Steinbeck, please.

Joining Berkeley, San Diego, Marin and San Mateo, the San Francisco Library announced the elimination of library fines for all its patrons, included existing debts. The library will also automatically renew your book up to three times, though you will be responsible for returning your selections or face a fine for lost, damaged or unreturned items.

According to KQED, “A study undertaken by the SFPL and the San Francisco Financial Justice Project of the Treasurer’s Office, published in January 2019, found that ‘overdue fines restrict access and exacerbate inequality by disproportionately affecting low-income and racial-minority communities, create conflict between patrons and the library, require an inefficient use of staff time, and do not consistently ensure borrowed materials end up back on library shelves.’

“In short, overdue fines hindered the library’s ability to serve those who would benefit most from it, contradicting the SFPL’s mission of providing its patrons free and equal access to information.”

You can read more about the library’s decision here.

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