A total of 13,323 items were returned by over 4,000 patrons, worth an estimated $240,000 during the Long Beach Public Library Overdue Fines Amnesty Program in April, the City of Long Beach announced Friday.
“Our Library Amnesty Program was a huge success, and I'm thankful that we not only got back a ton of books, but that people who were struggling had an opportunity to renew their library privileges,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement.
Patrons with unpaid overdue fines for materials they had previously returned also had their fines waived by donating new books. With 2,911 new books donated, the total amount of overdue fines waived for 4,055 total patrons was $71,265.
“The City’s first Library Amnesty Program had tremendous results,” said Councilmember Roberto Uranga in a statement. Uranga introduced the item to city council for approval in March. “Not only did it provide greater options and opportunities for reading selections, it resulted in getting patrons re-engaged with our libraries. I hope to make ours an annual event," he said.
Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and Councilmembers Lena Gonzalez and Rex Richardson co-sponsored the unanimously approved item, according to the release.
“The enthusiastic response from the community was overwhelming,” said Glenda Williams, Director of Library Services, in a statement. “Hundreds of patrons returned to their neighborhood libraries with overdue materials, and had their full library privileges restored. Families who had stopped using the library together can once again borrow books, attend programs, use library computers, printers and Wi-Fi, and access hundreds of resources from home.”
Coinciding with National Library Month in April, the Library Amnesty Program also reduced material replacement costs, according to the release.