MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter thinks library late fines should be eliminated.
He suggests the city invest $215,000 in the library budget so readers don’t have to pay fines anymore.
The mayor says late fines keep people from using the library because they eventually get blocked from checking out books when they can’t afford to pay the fine.
“I look forward to welcoming back all of our library users who have been blocked because they couldn’t afford to pay a fine,” Carter said.
The average library debt is $33.
“Late fines are, in many ways, opposite to our values as a public library system. We want our community to associate libraries with friendly staff, welcoming service, and useful information – not with guilt and shame over late fines,” Library director Catherine Penkert said. “We’re excited by Mayor Carter’s proposal and its potential to make libraries radically more open to our entire community.”
Carter pointed to a number of other libraries that have done away with late fees, including ones in Salt Lake City, Nashville and Eau Claire.