Chicago´s public library system to go fine-free

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Poverty
The change is to help low-income people regain access to their libraries, write John Bryne and Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas.
CHICAGO public libraries will stop fining people for overdue books and wipe away patrons outstanding debt, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday, saying she wants to help low-income people who have been locked out of borrowing from their neightborhood librarles regain access to the system.
Starting Tuesday, books people check out automatically will renew up to 15 times if nobody else places a hold on them, according to a release from the Chicago Public Library. Items will be marked as "lost" and accounts will be charged replacement costs one week after the last due date, but the charge will be cleared if the item is returned.
Lightfoot framed the change as her latest attempt to fix a long-standing policy that burdens those who have the hardest time coming up with the money to pay. The elimination of library fines follows the mayor passing changes to fees and fines tied to tickets and city vehicle stickers, aimed at helping low-income people keep their ability to drive legally.
"The bold reforms we´re taking to make the Chicago Public Library system fine-free and forgive city sticker debt will end the regressive practices disproportionately impacting those can least afford it, ensure every Chicagoan can utilize our city´s services and resources, and eliminate the cycles of debt and generational poverty because of few mistakes," Lightfoot said in a release.
In 2018, the Chicago Public Library collected $897,000 in late fines, which made up 0,7 of the system´s total budget, according to mayoral spokeswoman Jordan Troy. ...

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