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File #: 190775    Version: 0 Name:
Type: Resolution Status: LAPSED
File created: 10/3/2019 In control: Committee on Legislative Oversight
On agenda: Final action:
Title: Authorizing the Committee on Legislative Oversight to hold hearings exploring the Free Library of Philadelphia stopping fines for people with overdue books and wiping away patrons' outstanding debt.
Sponsors: Councilmember Parker, Councilmember Gym, Councilmember Henon, Council President Clarke, Councilmember Domb, Councilmember Squilla, Councilmember Reynolds Brown, Councilmember Johnson, Councilmember Taubenberger
Indexes: FREE LIBRARY OF PHILADELPHIA
Attachments: 1. Signature19077500
Title
Authorizing the Committee on Legislative Oversight to hold hearings exploring the Free Library of Philadelphia stopping fines for people with overdue books and wiping away patrons' outstanding debt.
Body

WHEREAS, On Monday, September 30th, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that Chicago public libraries will stop fining people for overdue books and wipe away patrons' outstanding debt, a move that makes the City the largest of more than 200 municipalities across the country to do so; and
WHEREAS, Mayor Lightfoot said she wants to help low-income people regain access to the system that has blocked them from borrowing materials because they have hit the threshold of $10 in fees; and
WHEREAS, According to The Chicago Tribune, research cited by the American Library Association and the Urban Libraries Council suggests eliminating overdue fees should increase overall book return rates and overall circulation rates - meaning more books in the hands of more people; and
WHEREAS, Before Chicago announced that it will stop fining people for overdue books, the City twice tried temporary amnesty programs, in 2012 and 2016, wiping out hundreds of thousands of dollars in late fees with the goal of recuperating missing materials. In 2012, the City wrote off $600,000 in fines, and those who had been locked out of the system brought back about $2 million worth of missing books; and
WHEREAS, Instead of doing another amnesty program and likely continuing to do amnesty programs every few years, Chicago decided to go fine-free; and
WHEREAS, Curtis Rogers, a spokesman for Washington, D.C.-based Urban Libraries Council, stated, "I can say this with complete confidence: I have been following these stories of the growing trend towards eliminating fines at library systems across the country very closely for the last year, and I'm not aware of any library systems that have experienced serious negative consequences after going fine-free"; and
WHEREAS, Library fines are regressive ...

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