Have an overdue library book collecting dust on a shelf? We realize at some point all hope of it being returned begins to wane once one day becomes a week, a month, a year. But, you’re in luck dear kind, forgetful reader, because the Long Beach Public Library is offering an Overdue Fines Amnesty Program for the month of April, to coincide with National Library Month, according to an announcement released Friday.
Your accrued fines will be forgiven if you finally make that trek to return your long-overdue Calvin & Hobbes comic—not that we’d know anything about that—to the Long Beach Public Library.
“This amnesty program will encourage the return of overdue library materials, and restore library borrowing privileges to patrons whose overdue fines prevent them from accessing library services,” stated Mayor Robert Garcia.
Recovering overdue materials increases the availability of materials for the library community, and lessens the cost of replacing them. Other amnesty programs across the US have been successful, with the City of Chicago recovering 20,000 books and the City of Berkeley netting more than $30,000 worth of returned library materials, just two examples mentioned in the announcement.
“This is a unique opportunity for residents to reconnect with the library,” stated Councilmember Roberto Uranga, who introduced the item for Council approval on March 8, 2016. “Long Beach has a world-class library system that offers something for everyone, whether residents want to register for an online class, earn a high school diploma, learn a new language or simply download a book by their favorite author.”
Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and Councilmembers Lena Gonzalez and Rex Richardson co-sponsored the item, which was unanimously approved, according to the release.
“April is National Library Month and this year libraries across the nation are celebrating how ‘Libraries Transform,’” said Glenda Williams, Director of Library Services, in a statement. “What better way to celebrate this than offering an amnesty program to welcome back Long Beach residents who may have stopped using library resources.”
The Long Beach Public Library has about 15,800 library items that are overdue and therefore not available for circulation, which represents approximately $267,932 in city property, according to the release. About 65 percent of these items are teen and juvenile materials.
The loss in revenue due to the amnesty program is expected to be fully offset by the reclaiming of this significant amount of city property.
For more information about National Library Month and the Overdue Amnesty Program, click here or call 562.570.7500.
Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her on Twitter and Instagram @theasiamorris and via email at [email protected]
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