Officials from the Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL) announced that all system materials are now fine free. Additionally, the library also waived $361,425 in old fines for customers. More than 28,000 people received the surprise savings.
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman has pledged any necessary funding to supplement the library’s loss in revenue. Fine revenue has continued to decrease year over year with only $112,827 collected in fiscal 2020, with about half that amount expected this year. The library went fine free for children’s materials in January 2020.
“Fines are a barrier that disproportionately impact people without the means to pay,” said Library CEO Skip Auld. “As a public institution, we have a responsibility to make our items available to as many people as possible. Removing these fines (while still requiring the items to be returned) will allow more people to enjoy our materials for education, enrichment and inspiration.”
“While everyone must be held accountable for returning what they borrow, fines are an unnecessary form of punishment that falls disproportionately on lower income households,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “We have a fantastic library system in this county and we want it to be accessible to everyone.”
In addition to the removal of fines on most items, the library has instituted a new auto renewal system where most materials without holds are automatically renewed up to five times. However, items waiting to be borrowed by other customers will not be automatically renewed.
For more information on the new initiative, visit www.aacpl.net/finesfaq.