BROOKLYN PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Everybody has some form of struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a huge break has arrived for thousands. The Anne Arundel County Library has forgiven $361,000 in fines.

More than 28,000 readers get to finally turn the page in Anne Arundel County. Effective immediately, all system materials are now fine-free, a project that’s been in the works since 2017.

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Skip Auld, Library CEO, spoke outside the Brooklyn Park Library.

“As of 2 or 3 years ago, we were bringing in close to $400,000 in fines so it really meant working with the County to make sure they could cover us if we lost revenue,” he says.

That revenue has gone down with just under $113,000 collected last year and half that amount expected this year.

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Steuart Pittman is the County Executive.

“It’s not a tax you want to increase the revenue from,” he tells WJZ. “We don’t want to have Skip and his team coming to our budget meetings every year promising to raise certain amount of money in library fines.”

Mizetta Wilson works with the Community of Hope.

“As a partner, we’ve really been trying to figure out how to best serve the community and this is just one more step and one more way in which the library is really serving the community,” she says.

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The Anne Arundel County Public Library joins Calvert County and Enoch Pratt in the city in going fine-free. Officials tell WJZ all libraries in the State will be going fine-free for children and teens on March 8.