In another reasonable and progressive step, Oak Park's public libraries are on a path to eliminate late fees for overdue books and other materials. If all goes as planned, by June 2017 the nickel and diming of patrons will become as obsolete as being shushed by a stereotypical librarian.
The amount of fine revenue foregone is modest at under $100,000 annually. But library leaders — elected board and staff — see this change as another way to make the library welcoming to all, even the miscreants who misplace books. More immediately, the library believes Oak Parkers of modest means find themselves locked out of the bounty of the library's materials and services over negligible overdue fees.
If Oak Park moves forward on this, and its board has already passed a budget that nixes fines by mid-year 2017, it will join the rising number of municipal libraries that have already ended fines as either a revenue source and a means of securing its collection.
This step is another in a series of efforts by our public library system to make sure that its doors remain open to all residents. We commend them.
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