Maricopa County is welcoming thousands of customers back to its public libraries. The Board of Supervisors has voted to eliminate overdue fines – and to waive existing overdue fines – at the County’s 18 public libraries. This measure only applies to Maricopa County Library District libraries. While part of a growing national movement, Maricopa County is the first public library system in Arizona to take this step for all customers.
“Libraries are an important resource for children and adults to learn about and connect with their community and world,” said Bill Gates, Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, District 3. “This is why we have decided to discontinue collecting daily overdue fines and to waive any existing fines that can build up and lead to blocked accounts for people who can least afford them, giving everyone a fresh start. We’re proud to be the first system in the state to remove this barrier between our residents and a vital community resource.”
“No one should be kept from libraries because of overdue fines,” said Cindy Kolaczynski, Director of the Maricopa County Library District. “Collecting fines isn’t a quick process. Our staff would much rather help customers explore and discover. Now is the perfect time to get or renew your library card and enjoy the library in person and online.”
Minimal Financial Impact
Maricopa County Library District receives about $300,000 from overdue fine payments each year, less than one percent of its budget. “That number has been dropping and doesn’t account for the resources it takes to collect payments,” continued Kolaczynski. “Coupled with the rise in digital items, which auto-return on the due date, it just makes sense to eliminate overdue fines.”
Summer Reading Program Starts June 1
County officials also reminded the public to register at read20az.com for the annual Summer Reading Program, which runs through June and July. “Everyone can earn great prizes, including a free book,” Kolaczynski added. “You don’t need a library card for the program, but it definitely improves the experience.”