Charleston Co Public Library dropping late fees


BySteven Ardary|May 27, 2021 at 2:27 PM EDT - Updated May 27 at 2:27 PM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County Public Library says beginning Tuesday they will no longer charge fines for all overdue library materials.

The library previously stopped charging fees on overdue books in 2018 and now they say they are extending the policy to other materials, including DVDs and Blu-rays, CDs, Chromebooks, Hotspots and other non-traditional items. In addition, CCPL’s Amnesty for All campaign will waive any fees incurred prior to June 1 if the item is returned to the library in June or July.

Charleston County Public Library Executive Director Angela Craig says fines were never designed to generate revenue for a library and fines and fees only accounted for one percent of the 2020 revenue for the library system.

“Fines were in place to encourage patrons to return materials in a timely manner. However, they more often act as a deterrent,” said Craig. “Fines create an unnecessary barrier between community members and our library materials and services. We believe that every single member of our community deserves equal access to the library and removing fines brings us closer to that goal.”

CCPL says although late fees will no longer be collected, if an item is not returned within 42 days the item will be considered lost and they will take steps to recover the item or its full replacement cost.

Officials say the fine-free policy is not retroactive so any fines or fees prior to June 1 will still need to be paid, but the Amnesty for All program will allow a patron’s fees to be waived if the outstanding or overdue materials are returned during June or July.

“Amnesty for All gives patrons a chance to wipe the slate clean and have a fresh start with the library, while re-building our library collection by putting materials back into circulation,” Craig said. “It’s a win-win.”

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