From the Chicago Sun Times:
Chicago Public Library patrons who’ve stayed away because of overdue materials they can’t afford to return — or are too embarrassed to surrender — will be welcomed back without consequence, thanks to a three-week amnesty program that’s the system’s first in 20 years.
Since January 2011 alone, Chicago’s 79 public libraries are owed $1.4 million in unpaid fines on overdue materials valued at more than $2 million.
For the last two years, Chicago’s collection budget has hovered around $7.5 million. That’s down from $10 million in prior years.
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Coinciding with the astronomical phenomenon taking place on August 31, the Library is naming the program the “Once in a Blue Moon Amnesty,” reinforcing the fact that it is not a regular occurrence.
From August 20 through September 7, late fines will be waived on all books, CDs, DVDs and other materials, no matter how long overdue. The amnesty will apply to all patrons and if an item has been lost, they will be responsible for paying only the replacement cost.