A Council committee defeated a bill Wednesday that would have thwarted the Free Library of Philadelphia’s plan to eliminate late fees for children – a move recommended by librarians to prevent cutting off poor children from library services.
Councilman David Oh, the primary sponsor, said about $70,000 of the $400,000 in late fees collected last year came from children’s books and material. He said individual librarians have the freedom to forgive late fees if they believe families cannot afford to pay – although a librarian who later testified disputed that she had that power.
Robert C. Heim, chair of the Free Library’s Board of Trustees, said there needs to be a balance between Oh’s goal to teach children responsibility and the needs of poor children. He urged the committee to reject the bill.
“We have strong concerns about the efficacy, impact and both short and long-term implications of this bill,” he said.
Much More in the Complete Philly.com Article