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Louisville Free Public Library Ends Overdue Fines

030920 Northeast Regional Library_4
J. Tyler Franklin
The 40,000 square foot Northeast Regional Library is one of the newer facilities in the Louisville Free Public Library system.

Starting Thursday, the Louisville Free Public Library system will no longer charge fines for overdue items.

Before, the library charged 20 cents per day in overdue fines for most items, up to $10 per item, and banned library patrons from checking out new items once they hit $10 in overdue fines. Now, the city is ending that rule and dispensing with overdue fines altogether. 

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said research shows fines don’t make people more likely to return items.

“What the experience of other library systems tells us is that fines only serve to create a barrier to library services,” he said at a press conference Thursday. “And these barriers disproportionately affect people who need access the most.”

Library system officials say they want to welcome back people who may have racked up fines in the past.

“If you’ve been unable to borrow items because of overdue fines, come back to see us starting today and you will be able to fully use our library services,” Louisville Free Public Library director Lee Burchfield said.

Patrons will still be charged for lost items under the new rules.

The change comes amid troubled contract negotiations between the city and the library workers’ union. 

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.