Chicago book returns surge 240% after city eliminates fines

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I once stayed away from the library for like 4 years because my girlfriend lost a copy of The Best of AbFab on VHS and I thought the fines on videos would be outrageous. Walked in there when I finally had a big boy job determined to pay it down… Nobody told me our library has a maximum fine of $10.


Hey, our local library system did this too! For those who may have questions about the logistics of these systems, ours works by attaching massive overdue fines to your account so it temporarily disables your account if a book is overdue. Once it’s returned, fines are waived. If you have a book overdue, you can’t check out anymore books until you return it, or pay for a replacement. Can you still hold onto overdue books? Yes, but it comes at the sacrifice of not being able to check out any more new books, and you can only read the withheld book so many times anyway. I think it’s great, it encourages the returning of books(which should be the point of a library, letting everyone read) by removing the fear of heavy fines upon returning a book.


When a story uses big percentages, it’s probably a small number. When a story uses big numbers, it’s probably a small percentage.


No library should charge fines. The library I work at eliminated fines on youth materials at the beginning of the year and it’s had such an improvement in our overall library culture.


I’m a CPL librarian and I thought the 240% seemed huge and premature. However I have talked to many library patrons who told me many variations of feeling that it was now safe to return to the library and to return library books that they checked out months and years ago. Many of my colleagues in other branches around Chicago have heard the same. Returns are up at my branch.