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Memphis Public Libraries to eliminate fines for overdue materials

In a progressive leap forward, the Memphis Public Library will begin eliminating the collection of all overdue fines associated with the rental of books and oth...

(CITY OF MEMPHIS NEWS RELEASE) – In a progressive leapforward, the Memphis Public Library will begin eliminating the collection ofall overdue fines associated with the rental of books and other educationalmaterial. This decision supports an ongoing effort to eliminate many keybarriers which interfere with access of library services particularly as theyrelate to early childhood literacy and grade level reading. As of November18th, 2019, MPL will officially join the ranks of 140+ libraries nationwide whohave integrated a ‘no fines’ policy as part of their business model.

Library leadership is confident that this new policy willsee an uptick in both library usage as well as returns of overdue librarymaterial- a benefit to all who utilize library services. As fines are noted asthe number one deterrent of current and past library patrons, Library staffhopes that the new policy will see more patrons return, reactivating a largeportion of the 190,000 dormant library accounts. Increased library cardadoption is also among the key benefits of implementing this new policy. “Thereis mounting evidence that indicates eliminating fines increases library cardadoption and library usage,” states the American Library Association.

“We are excited to say that this is a huge step towardselimination of barriers of access of materials and books. We are thrilled to beamong the first libraries in the nation to eliminate fines, so this is a majorstep forward for Memphis.” says Keenon McCloy, Director of the Memphis PublicLibrary. 

“Children are the most affected by overdue fines from theperspective that they cannot return materials, and yet they cannot check outmaterials because of late fees. Now, any person can check out materials as longas they have returned items that are outstanding. Anything we can do toeliminate barriers to access will assist us in increasing literacy andeducational attainment. This is truly a great day for Memphis and forMemphians!”

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