Grand Rapids Public Library eliminates fines on youth materials; forgives debts

Posted at 10:45 AM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 10:45:17-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Good news for kids and teens who have overdue library books in the city of Grand Rapids.

The Grand Rapids Public Library is eliminating all fines on youth materials. Overdue kids and teen material will no longer accumulate fines and accounts with old fines for youth materials have been forgiven.

Grand Rapids Public Library Director John McNaughton said in a press release that the decision to eliminate the fines was based on equity and access.

“We know that 75% of Grand Rapids Public School 3rd graders are not proficient in reading,” said McNaughton. “This is a community problem that we can help solve. By removing a large barrier to using the library, we can get books in homes and help to develop a daily reading habit.”

“Our goal is to emphasize the return of library material rather than penalizing our youngest patrons,” continued McNaughton. “Using the library should not be a source of stress for families. Life gets complicated. Take an extra day or two if needed. We will still be here for you.”

The library says that 84% of all checked out library materials are returned before the due date. 74% of overdue materials are returned within the first week of being overdue.  The fines on youth materials only accounted for less than one half of a percent of the library’s annual budget.

Library patrons will still be responsible for the replacement of items that are lost or damaged.