August 28, 2019 | From City of New Orleans

New Orleans Public Library Is Eliminating Fines for Youth Materials

NEW ORLEANS -- Beginning Sept. 1, 2019, the New Orleans Public Library will eliminate overdue fines on all library youth materials. This board-approved policy change is designed to remove economic barriers that impede access to the Library’s youth materials.

Small Amounts with Big Impact

“Small library fines of $.20 per day can quickly add up over time and often result in not only lost materials, but more importantly, lost Library users,” said Circulation and Customer Experience Librarian Heather Riley. “Fines especially impact children and teens who cannot always control when they can get to a library to return materials.”

In 2018, there were 8,082 Library accounts with youth material late fines, totaling $44,159, an amount that is less than one quarter of one percent of the Library’s 2018 operating budget. Of the 8,082 people with youth materials fines, those with more than $20 in fines were blocked from fully utilizing Library services.

“Studies have shown that library fines do not have an impact on return rates and often discourage people from using the Library, especially those who could most benefit from our services, said Interim Library Director Jessica Styons. “We want everyone to utilize all that the Library offers and eliminating fines on youth materials is a big step in ensuring that is possible.”


Eliminating Fines, Not Responsibility

The elimination of fines for youth materials does not remove all responsibility from the Library user. Fees for materials that are damaged or not returned within 90 days will still be added to Library user accounts. Children and teens who have incurred late fines prior to September 1 have the opportunity to remove the fines by completing and submitting book reviews to Library staff or by paying the fines off over time.

Last Days for Amnesty Late Fee Forgiveness Policy

The New Orleans Public Library's policy change begins hours before the end of Mayor LaToya Cantrell's Amnesty Late Fee Forgiveness Policy, a three-month program to help clear past-due accounts with parking and camera tickets, sales and hotel/motel taxes, code enforcement violations, and library fees. The three-month program expires on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019 -- the day after Labor Day. The program expires at midnight later that evening. So far, the library forgave a total of $131,923.39 in fines. Call 3-1-1 for more information, or visit for a complete guide on how to use each department’s late-fee forgiveness process.

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