No More Library Fines for Young Readers

If you are a reader today, and most writers are, you were probably a reader when you were a kid.  I’m sure my mother took me to the library but what I actually remember is going on my own.  I would ride my bike up the busy four lane (sidewalk riding).  Then I would cruise among the shelves visiting old favorites and looking for something new.  Then I’d check out an arm load of books that I would carefully wedge into my basket for the ride home.

Although there is still a bike rack in front of the library, I don’t see kids riding up there on their own.  They come instead with parents and grandparents.  But what happens when young readers can’t catch a ride?  They end up with late fees and fines.

I hate anything that discourages reading so when I saw this post on Facebook, I got excited.  Then, me being me, I thought – what if it isn’t true?  Could it be fake?  A quick Google search revealed that it is not (see article). It isn’t quite accurate, but it isn’t fake.

The LA Country library system has done away with fines on children’s material.  That didn’t exactly help kids who already had fines so another program was implemented.  Kids can check in to read away part of their fine.  The rate is $5.00/hour and young readers are given credit for fractions of hours.  What a great idea!

Not sure how you feel about this?  In a random survey of library patrons, 80% said that with this new policy they would be more willing to let their children check things out.  Apparently economically disadvantaged families limit their library use, especially use by young readers, because unpaid fines can go to a collection agency.

How much better to encourage and educate?  Way to go, LA!



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