Fairfax County to stop charging late fees at public libraries

Readers, rejoice! It looks like library fees for overdue books will soon be a thing of the past.

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Fairfax County is the latest jurisdiction to make the move after the Fairfax County Public Library Board of Trustees spent months figuring out whether library fees actually brought people back to the library, as officials had previously believed.

"And the answer, really sadly, was no, that the fines that are imposed are a barrier to service, that the more fines that are out there, the less likely people are to actually come back in," explained Fairfax County Public Library Director Jessica Hudson.

Hudson added that young people and those in low-income areas were being disproportionately affected.

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So now, they’ve joined nearly every other library system across the region in getting rid of late fees for good.

"Between the steady decrease in the actual fines, money generated for the county, the kind of ill will that’s generated for the public when they have those fines assessed, and the amount of time it takes to collect and manage the fines, it just didn’t really make a lot of sense," said Hudson.

Many library-goers seemed to like the move, including Ashwin Arora. He’s using the library a lot these days to study for the MCAT.

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"Coincidentally I just had a late fee a week ago," Arora told FOX 5 Monday.

There will still be some late fee exceptions for items like computers and special collections. Also, you can’t just decide against returning books at all. Hudson said after a certain point, you’ll either have to pay for a book if you can’t return it, or lose access to the library system altogether.


To learn more about the new policy, you can click here.