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The Dallas Public Library Will No Longer Fine You for Your Overdue Books

Release your library card shame and start reading again.

Dallasites who’ve been avoiding the library because of the virtual certainty they’ll forget to return books on time—or because they have money piled up on their accounts—can rest and read easy.

On Wednesday, the City Council approved the library’s idea to eliminate overdue fines. You also won’t be charged for a replacement card—which previously cost $4—or for failure to present your library card—$1.

The library will, over the next couple of weeks, forgive residents the dollars already on their cards (or, you can visit a location and have it done right then and there—check your card’s status here). The city says it could lose about $150,000 a year on the deal.

What we gain, says the library, is a bit more equity. There are over 650,000 library card holders right now, and over half have blocked accounts with more than $5 in fees.

The kicker, for anyone with a thought to go fill their bookshelves on the city’s dime: once an item is seven days past due, the cost of that item is placed on the account. But if the account holder brings back the item, even well after the seven days, that cost will be forgiven.

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