More than 4,000 patrons returned 13,323 items worth an estimated $240,000 during the Long Beach Public Library Overdue Fines Amnesty Program in April.
“Our Library Amnesty Program was a huge success, and I'm thankful that we not only got back a ton of books, but that people who were struggling had an opportunity to renew their library privileges,” said Mayor Robert Garcia.
Patrons with unpaid overdue fines for materials they had previously returned had their fines waived by donating new books, and 2,911 were donated. The total amount of overdue fines waived for 4,055 patrons was $71,265.
“The City’s first Library Amnesty Program had tremendous results,” said Councilmember Roberto Uranga, who introduced the item for City Council approval on March 8, 2016. “Not only did it provide greater options and opportunities for reading selections, it resulted in getting patrons re-engaged with our libraries. I hope to make ours an annual event.”
Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and Councilmembers Lena Gonzalez and Rex Richardson co-sponsored the item, which was unanimously approved.
“The enthusiastic response from the community was overwhelming,” said Glenda Williams, Director of Library Services. “Hundreds of patrons returned to their neighborhood libraries with overdue materials, and had their full library privileges restored. Families who had stopped using the library together can once again borrow books, attend programs, use library computers, printers and Wi-Fi, and access hundreds of resources from home.”
Coincided with National Library Month in April, the Library Amnesty Program also reduced material replacement costs.
About Long Beach Public Library
Long Beach Public Library, founded in 1896, serves a diverse urban city of close to half a million people. The Long Beach Public Library system includes Main Library, eleven other unique Neighborhood Libraries and a vibrant online presence. With an emphasis on providing free and equal access to information and support for lifelong-learning, the Library offers books, media, downloads, databases, Internet access, Family Learning Centers and a variety of events ranging from story times to cultural programs.