With the adoption of the Fiscal Year 2022 budget by City Council, San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) will no longer charge overdue fines for materials returned late to the library. Discontinuation of fines will be effective beginning October 1, 2021.
SAPL’s elimination of overdue fines is an important change that breaks down financial barriers to access library services and resources.
“Libraries are for everyone,” said Paul Stahl, Chair of the SAPL Board of Trustees. “No one should be afraid to visit or use the services at their local library because they are worried about owing money if their book is returned late. The Library Board of Trustees extends our thanks to City Council and the City Manager’s Office for their support and stewardship of this important initiative.”
Ending overdue fines is a significant milestone in SAPL’s continued effort to promote access to library services, expanding on a pilot program launched in 2019 that eliminated similar fines on materials for children and teens.
“SAPL has made great strides over the years in making library services increasingly accessible for San Antonians,” said Ramiro S. Salazar, Director of San Antonio Public Library. “From building new facilities to offering innovative services, SAPL is always focused on promoting greater access to the library. Eliminating overdue fines is yet another example of the Library’s dedication to providing inclusive and equitable access to library services for everyone.”
While those who currently owe library fines will still be responsible for paying their fines, SAPL urges patrons with existing late fines to reach out to their local branch library or call 210-207-2500. Library users can discuss reasonable options to pay their fines over an extended period of time. Payment plans are available, and as long as a library user pays toward their balance on a regular basis, their library privileges will not be suspended.
SAPL’s elimination of overdue fines follows a growing movement nationwide and internationally to break down barriers to library access and encourage use of library services. Library systems from Chicago Public Library to the Los Angeles Public Library have eliminated overdue fines in recent years. A full map of fine-free libraries is available from the Urban Libraries Council.
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