“The San Francisco Public Library Commission has already recommended eliminating library fines, but on Thursday it voted to forgive existing fines as well.
The decision comes as the San Francisco Public Library is on the verge of a new fine-free chapter, after officially recognizing the punitive practice creates an ‘unfair barrier to access, which disproportionately impacts residents of lower socioeconomic status.'”
“Late fees will be no more after March 1. The library commission on Dec. 5 voted to do away with the fees in the hopes of increasing patronage. The threat of overdue costs discourages library use by younger and lower-income residents, ‘the people who need (the library) the most,’ said commissioner Joni Teter.”
“Residents who previously experienced obstacles in obtaining access to Berkeley Public Library resources and items will no longer face this issue with the implementation of a new Easy Access Card, which allows those without a permanent address to use and check out library resources.”
“‘It was really odd and we couldn’t quite figure it out,’ Auckland Libraries manager Rachael Rivera told The Guardian. ‘We thought someone was playing with us, or it was bored kids.’ It was only in one of their regular meetings with the library’s homeless patrons that the solution revealed itself. Unable to get library cards without an address, or fearing damage to books that they checked out, many people had been tucking their books beneath couches or under shelves so that they could return to them without losing their place.”
“‘That community really values the services we offer and treats the books with a great deal of respect,’ Rivera told the British newspaper. ‘A lot of the guys that come in are extremely well-read and have some quite eccentric and highbrow literary tastes. People are homeless for so many different reasons, and being intelligent and interested in literature doesn’t preclude that.’ The library has since established a special bookshelf behind the front desk to store books for this group of about 50 homeless readers.”
“Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” , by Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond, will be the focal point of the Multnomah County Library’s 2017 Everybody Reads community reading program. Desmond follows eight Wisconsin families who struggle to pay their rent. The book has received much critical praise – The New York Times described it as an “unignorable book,” adding, “after ‘Evicted,’ it will no longer be possible to have a serious discussion about poverty without having a serious discussion about housing.” The New Yorker excerpted it over two issues.
The library’s director, Valley Oehlke, who chose the title, called it “a very timely selection for our community.”