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Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Scraps Fines To Lure Back Patrons

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Matthew Feeney
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Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Beatties Ford Road location

Starting Thursday, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system will forgive late fees and fines for all library cardholders. The library said in a statement that fines will be cleared for more than 150,000 residents, and they will be free to check out items.

The American Library Association passed a resolution in 2019 calling late fees “discriminatory” and urged libraries to reconsider their policies. And for a while now, libraries have been grappling with how fines limit access for people who owe money, said Library CEO and chief librarian Marcellus Turner.

“People have this idea that because they have a fine they can’t even come into the library themselves, they can’t look at a magazine, they can’t use a computer,” Turner said. “And that’s just very limiting if you take that approach, so we wanted to address that.”

Mecklenburg County is giving the library system $600,000 in this year's budget to replace money that would have been collected in fines.

The library system says it will still charge for renting out rooms and equipment and lost material fees.

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