MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you have an overdue library fine in Memphis, consider your record clean.
The Memphis Public Libraries system is eliminating overdue fines effective Monday, Director Keenon McCloy announced. Under the new system, patrons won’t be able to check out new material until past-due materials are returned.
“In North Memphis and South Memphis there seemed to be more overdue fines, meaning people could not check books out,” McCloy said. “That seems to be sort of the opposite of what we were trying to accomplish, which is higher educational attainment and literacy rates.
“So, eliminating fines basically means that every person can basically wipe the slate clean, as of today. … Now, anybody can check out books regardless of any past-due fines.”
McCloy said the hope is that eliminating fines will lead to more people using the 18 branches of the Memphis library system.
The library was bringing in about $80,000 a year in fines, McCloy said. Some people hadn’t been able to check out books in years because of fines, and children under 18 aren’t legally liable for fines.
Memphis joins Nashville, Chicago, Los Angeles and many other city library systems in eliminating fines, she said.