TOWSON (WJZ) — The Baltimore County Public Library system in July announced it was doing away with late fees and wiping outstanding balances on cardholders’ accounts. Since then, the system said it has seen people returning to its libraries, along with book returns from as far back as 1957.

The library system said it is seeing more book returns than ever because of the clean slate, and it said most importantly, people are returning who might not have felt comfortable owing the library money.

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Library Director Sonia Alcántara-Antoine said in June library fines are barriers to access for those who need the system most.

“Library fines create barriers to access and hurt the people who need its resources and services the most,” Alcántara-Antoine said. “Eliminating unnecessary fees levels the playing field for all in the community and it is exciting to be part of this structural change.”

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Cardholders no longer face fines for keeping items beyond the return date, but they need to return overdue books to check out more items. Visitors are still responsible for replacement costs if a book is damaged or lost.


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CBS Baltimore Staff