In announcing the new policy, the library said its board of trustees “is dedicated to creating a library that is more open, equitable and understanding of our community,” and explained that “eliminating fines for overdue materials means more people in our community have greater access to the Library’s vital materials, resources and services.”
“Every day is a day for learning. Chicagoans need and deserve access to information and technology every day of the week. Adding Sunday hours in libraries across the city is an important step in our commitment to equity and access,” said CPL Commissioner Chris Brown. “Mayor Lightfoot’s leadership and support for expanded Sunday hours has been instrumental in bringing this opportunity to all Chicagoans.”
From picture books onwards, “home” as a predictable, stable and safe place is a central subject despite a significant percentage of people who experience homelessness. These experiences are not often written about and if they are, not positively reflected in literature. To create more equitable literacy learning environments, as well as providing a counterpoint to the negative images so often created, we need opportunities to explore economic diversity and to challenge harmful discourses about people experiencing homelessness.
With this in mind, the Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty Task Force of SRRT (HHPTF) is creating a booklist of recommended books for all ages, as well as a guide to help with selecting books that are respectful and supportive of people who are experiencing homelessness.
To date, Chicago Public Library (CPL) is the largest library system in the country to go fine-free. Starting October 1, CPL will eliminate overdue fines on all CPL-owned items currently in circulation, which it said will remove barriers to basic library access, especially for youth and low-income patrons.
“We’re moving away from a punishment model to a more positive model,” said Carla Powers, Duluth Public Library manager. “The public library is not only for people who can always remember to return things. It’s not only for people who have the capacity to pay an overdue fine.”
August 12–13, 2019
Charleston County Public Library
October 28–29, 2019
Chicago Public Library
“Libraries across the country are making stronger commitments to equitable library services for all. Librarians, library administrators, library staff, and other stakeholders are encouraged to join us to grow the collective capacity and connections we will need to do this work.
During this one-and-a-half day symposium we will explore how power and privilege operate interpersonally and institutionally; identify how oppression shows up in our communities and libraries; and learn about historical and contemporary social justice movements. Participants will hear from libraries putting equity into practice, develop regional connections, and create local action plans to advance equity and social justice in our organizations and communities.
Day one will focus on building shared language, self-awareness and historical understanding. Day two will give us the chance to learn about successful racial equity initiatives and develop action plans to catalyze or strengthen equity work in our organizations and communities.”
“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.'”
“The Pikes Peak Library District said adding a social worker to its staff helps fill a gap that traditional library personnel weren’t prepared to meet, furthering its mission to connect people with resources, whatever those may be.”