The biggest public library system in the United States has done away with late fees.
- Officials with the New York Public Library say not only have they stopped charging people for overdue books, but they're also expunging the outstanding debt of hundreds of thousands of negligent book borrowers. That means more than 400,000 New Yorkers -- whose library cards had been suspended for owing more than $15 in late fees -- will be able to borrow books again, according to library president Anthony W. Marx.
- Marx says overdue fees are "an antiquated ineffective way to encourage patrons to return their books; for those who can afford the fines, they are barely an incentive. For those who can't afford the fines — disproportionately low-income New Yorkers — they become a real barrier to access that we can no longer accept."
- Should other libraries follow New York's lead? Will this change result in more books being stolen?
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