The Boston Public Library will waive fines for all overdue books, CDs and DVDs – regardless of how late the items may be – for three weeks in November to encourage library users to return the materials.
The campaign from Nov. 1 through Thanksgiving will be the largest overdue drive in the history of the Boston Public Library, which was established 164 years ago as the country’s first publicly-supported municipal library.
The timing of the drive is also strategic. The month following the campaign, the Boston Public Library plans to upgrade its computer systems, and effort that will involve changes to its acquisitions, cataloging and lending system.
“Having these overdue books come back to the library in November will be of great help to us in transferring the most accurate data to the new system in December,” library services director Michael Colford said in a statement. “Even as our users may be thanking us for clearing a fine when they bring back an overdue book, we’ll be thanking them for helping update our information.”
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The Chicago Public Library held an amnesty program (their first in 30 years) at the end of August. 101,301 items (estimated value about $2 million) were returned from Aug. 20th to Sept. 7th and $641,820 worth of fines were waived.