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Glendale Public Library eliminates late fees

By Kirsten Dorman
Published: Saturday, March 30, 2024 - 9:05am

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Rows of kids books
Tom Maxedon/KJZZ
The main brand of the Glendale Public Library.

The Glendale Public Library announced this week that it’s eliminating fines on overdue materials and waiving existing ones. It’s in line with a growing trend, as many Arizona libraries have scrapped late fees over the past several years.

Interim Chief Librarian Dawn Ferro said they studied how other libraries made the switch, and what came after.

“I’m happy to tell you there is no budgetary impact,” said Ferro. “Fines aren’t realized if they're never collected. And even when they are, they aren’t relied upon to support our operation. So in this case, it’s just gonna create that significant positive impact for patrons and customer service.”

Getting rid of late fees, said Ferro, removes a financial barrier for people that need library services the most.

“The majority of overdue fines were all in the 85301 ZIP code, which would be south Glendale,” she said. “They had the highest dollar amount of overdue fines and 24% of the population that are Glendale [library] patrons are affected.”

The area’s poverty rate is 30.4%, which according to the Census, is more than double the rate of people living at or below the poverty level in metro Phoenix.

Ferro added that it’s important to remember: Damaged or lost items will incur charges, but the library will attempt to contact anyone with overdue materials multiple times before that happens.

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