The New York Public Library has decided to eliminate 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 urging 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. Late fee charges were suspended in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but now they will be permanently abolished.

“For those who can afford the fees, they are barely an incentive,” Marx bared in a statement. “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.” In an effort to welcome people back or to libraries for the first time, public libraries in New York will be launching a week of giveaways and special programs beginning on Monday, October 18. City council speaker Corey Johnson applauded the public libraries for taking a “significant step to strengthen social equity.”

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 library system 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.