Santa Monica Public Library eliminates fees for overdue books and materials
As part of its continued recovery and to remove barriers to accessing the Santa Monica Public Library, the Santa Monica City Council approved a new Fine Free for All Program. Going into effect on March 1, the program will eliminate fines for overdue books and materials at the library.
“Overdue fines create barriers to access for the very community members and populations that the library intends to serve,” said Erica Cuyugan, interim city librarian. “Removing fines will give cardholders increased access to services and use of the library and its materials both virtually and at any of our locations.”
The new program comes after a similar program launched in July 2018, eliminating fines for youth up to 18 years of age who are Santa Monica Public Library cardholders. That program successfully increased library use by that age group and supported the goal of building stronger ties with Santa Monica youth.
During the pandemic, the library temporarily suspended fines to support the community as it dealt with the impacts of COVID-19. This change applies to overdue fines only. Charges related to lost or damaged materials will continue to apply.
Building on these efforts, the City Council adopted the Fine Free for All program at its recent Feb. 8 meeting, joining a host of local libraries that have adopted similar programs removing fines for library cardholders including LA County Public Library, Burbank Public Library and Los Angeles Public Library, among others.
“We are proud to join the nationwide movement to eliminate library fines and ensure free and equal access to books, information and lifelong learning,” said Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “If you are avoiding our libraries for fear of past or possible fines, please come back to take advantage of the tremendous resources and entertainment available.”