By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4)– Avid readers will be getting a break at the Denver Public Library starting on Jan. 1, 2019. The library is axing overdue fines in order to increase customer interactions.

“What that means basically is if you have a book or an item that you didn’t return because you are still reading or simply forgot, DPL is no longer penalizing you for bringing that item back a little late,” said Erika Martinez, Director of Communications and Community Engagement for the Denver Public Library.

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Martinez says the goal is to promote inclusivity for everyone; specifically vulnerable families who can least afford to pay overdue fines for checked out books.

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The upcoming change is a welcome one for frequent library user Pamela Allaart and her 3-year-old son, Judah. They visit the downtown library at least once a week, and Judah loves to read as part of his homeschooling curriculum.

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“Sometimes there’s books that he absolutely loves and we forget to take them back, so I love that there’s no fines,” said Allaart. “I think with that community and in this location specifically, yeah, I think that’s going to make a huge impact.”

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However, there is a catch. Readers aren’t completely exempt from paying up if they return a book late.

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“Although we’re eliminating fines, we’re not eliminating fees. A fine is, right now, if you don’t return a book on time you get fined daily. A fee is assessed when you lost your book or return a book that’s damaged. We go ahead and add a fee to your account,” Martinez explained. “But if you bring back your item and it’s late, then we remove that (fee) and you can continue using the library.”

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Accounts will also be blocked from further checkout when one or more items reach 14 days overdue, to ensure books do get returned. Privileges are restored once those items are brought back.

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All current overdue fines will be also eliminated starting in 2019, which will library cardholders know about the policy change.

LINK: Denver Public Library

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