The New York Public Library has decided to abolish all fees on late materials and books. The fine-free policy took effect on October 5, 2021. CEO Anthony Marx considered overdue fees as an “ineffective” way of encouraging people to return books. Under the old rule, all cardholders who have accrued over $15 in fines would have their cards blocked and access to libraries revoked.

“For those who can’t afford the fees – disproportionately low-income New Yorkers – they become a real barrier to access that we can no longer tolerate.” Marx bared in a statement. In an effort to welcome people back or to libraries for the first time, public libraries in New York will be holding a week of giveaways and special programs beginning on Monday, October 18. “Libraries are for everyone yet fines create barriers to accessing services for those who need it most,” said city council speaker Corey Johnson.

The Big Apple’s public library system has 92 locations, including branches in Manhattan, the Bronx, and the Brooklyn and Queens Public Library. With the elimination of the fines, New York’s joins other major U.S. cities like Chicago, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, all of which have waived previous overdue fines. So far, the abolition of late fees in North America has been proven successful, as thousands of users have renewed their library cards.