The dreaded library late fee is no more at Dallas public libraries.
During its Wednesday meeting, the Dallas City Council passed an agenda item amending the “Library” ordinance of Dallas City Code. The amendment eliminates library fines, the $1 fee for failure to present a library card, the $4 replacement fee for a new library card and authorizes the library director to administer two yearly amnesty periods to forgive some or all fees accrued by account holders.
“The library’s mission is to provide access for all,” Director of Libraries Jo Giudice said in a statement. “Late fines create barriers by punishing people who are unable to pay them. Eliminating fines is an issue of equity.”
This elimination is expected to decrease the city’s annual revenue by $150,000, according to the City Council meeting agenda. But, Giudice said in the statement, most people who have outstanding fines don’t pay them so it’s not a huge loss for the city.
It will take several weeks to forgive all existing fines, but account holders can do so by visiting their local branch and asking staff to clear their fines.
But library users aren’t completely off the hook for late books.
Under the new set of rules, once an item is a week overdue, the replacement cost of the book and a processing fee will be charged to the user’s account. That account will be blocked from any future check outs until the overdue item is returned.
Once the overdue item is returned, all fees will be forgiven.
Or, account holders can work to remove accrued fees during amnesty periods by volunteering or participating in community activities.
To find out if you have outstanding fines, log into your account online here.
If you want to check out a new book, head to one of the two Lake Highlands area branch libraries: Audelia Road Branch Library, at 10045 Audelia Road; or Forest Green Branch Library, at 9015 Forest Lane.