If you owe late fees to the New York Public Library, you no longer have to be afraid they’ll sic their lions on you.
The library system has done away with late fees, NPR reports, becoming the latest library to do so, following ones in Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago.
“All existing fines and replacement fees in all patron accounts have been cleared and erased,” the library announced on its website. “Late fines will no longer accrue on borrowed materials returned after their due date.”
Anthony W. Marx, the library system’s president, said that fines are “antiquated” and “ineffective.”
“For those who can't afford the fines—disproportionately low-income New Yorkers—they become a real barrier to access that we can no longer accept,” Marx said. “This is a step towards a more equitable society, with more New Yorkers reading and using libraries, and we are proud to make it happen."
Library patrons shouldn’t take the new policy as carte blanche to hold on to borrowed materials forever, though. The library will still charge “replacement fees” for materials they consider “lost,” or overdue for more than a month.
The move was met with positive reaction on social media, with one famous New Yorker, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, indicating her approval of the new policy.
“Roar!” the representative tweeted, with a lion emoji. “NY Public Library lovers, we’ve got GREAT news: Late fees are a thing of the past! Any late fees you’ve owed are gone, and you’ll never get another one again. If you’ve lost or damaged a book, just chip in the replacement fee and get back to borrowing. Happy reading!”
Roar! 🦁 NY Public Library lovers, we’ve got GREAT news:— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 5, 2021
Late fees are a thing of the past! Any late fees you’ve owed are gone, and you’ll never get another one again.
If you’ve lost or damaged a book, just chip in the replacement fee and get back to borrowing. Happy reading!📚 https://t.co/oN2onCG0oP
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.