Overdue library fines might disappear in Philly

Philadelphia Free Library drops fines for overdue books

Library fines might become a thing of the past in Philly. 

The Free Library of Philadelphia and City Council are planning on exploring the option of getting rid of late fees. 

Phillymag.com reports they might do away with late fees because it could hurt the low-income residents of the city. They are also considering doing away with outstanding debt. 

The City Council passed a non-binding resolution by throwing together a committee to explore if this is feasible or not. City Council member Cherelle Parker proposed the legislation.

Although it was reportedly on library officials’ minds for about a year, some officials are expected to testify during a city council hearing. The Philadelphia Tribune spoke with Kaitlyn Foti, a library spokesperson, and she told them that we, “welcome the conversation with City Council to bring more people to the table discussing this possibility.”  

It was reported that the City Council hearings will investigate which areas of the city are the hardest hit with the fines. According to reports, the resolution states that it is, “highly probable that the people who continue to be most negatively impacted by library fines in Philadelphia include lower-income individuals and immigrants. These are people that, at the very least, deserve equal access to our city’s library system.”

Additionally, Phillymag.com reported that the public library system collects around $400,000 in fines per year. It was reported that this is less than 1 percent of the library’s 45.7million budget for the 2020 fiscal year. A majority of the funding comes from the state and the city. 

In 2013, the system added a fine-free library card for kids who are under 12. 

Philly could be taking some inspiration from Chicago, which announced that they have eliminated late book fees. Chicago is the largest city to do so, but other cities around the United States have done the same successfully. 

It was reported that Parker is expecting to hold a hearing before the end of the council’s legislative session on December 12.