Have overdue books at Enoch Pratt Library? As long as you return the material, your fines are now waived.

Enoch Pratt Library announced that they are eliminating overdue fines for customers on all Pratt-owned materials.  The Pratt Library is one of the first major urban libraries on the East Coast to waive overdue fines, and the first in the state of Maryland.

“As a public library, our top goal is to provide equal access to information, services and opportunities for all,” says Pratt Library President & CEO Heidi Daniel.  “We know fines are a barrier to access for thousands of Baltimore city residents.  We want to break down that barrier for them.”

More than 13,000 current Pratt customers have borrowing privileges revoked due to unpaid fines.  Starting June 4, if materials are returned to the library, all fines will be waived. Materials borrowed from other systems through inter-library loan are not applicable. Fees will still apply for lost or damaged materials. 

“No fines” does not mean no responsibility. 14 days after the final due date, materials that are not returned will be considered lost and customers will be billed the replacement cost. At any time customers may return materials to have all associated fees canceled. Borrowing privileges for library cards with a balance of $25 or more will be restored when materials are returned or balance is paid in full. 

“Overdue fines account for less than one quarter of one percent of the Library’s average annual budget,” says Pratt Chief Operating Officer Gordon Krabbe. “We spend more trying to collect the fines.  This is a policy that just makes sense.” 

“I’ve seen parents tell children not to take out library books because they fear having fines they can’t pay,” says Daniel. “We want to ease those financial worries and welcome everyone back to their library.”