A new movement is afoot to make libraries a little more chill when it comes to tardiness. This should be a balm to my wife, who is late for everything. Her father gave me a great line to use: “When the angel of death finally comes for me, I hope it is you driving him.”
For decades, libraries have relied on fines to discourage patrons from returning books late. But a growing number of some of the country’s biggest public library systems are ditching overdue fees after finding that the penalties drive away the people who stand to benefit the most from free library resources.
From San Diego to Chicago to Boston, public libraries that have analyzed the effects of late fees on their cardholders have found that they disproportionately deter low-income residents and children.