May 26, 2022

New York City Public Libraries Offer One-Time Fine Amnesty on Kids’ and Teens’ Library Cards

From the Website:

2017-10-18_19-54-38Libraries help kids and teens succeed in school. That’s why NYC libraries are pleased to announce a one-time fine amnesty. On October 19, 2017, we are clearing all fines on all kids’ and teens’ library cards.

Please note: Items due after October 19 will continue to accrue fines. Fines for ages 17 and under will be automatically cleared. High school students ages 18 and up can have their fines cleared in person through November 2, 2017.

From am New York:

Officials said about 927,000 youths hold library cards across the city — but more than 160,000 of them have been blocked from checking out books, DVDs, tablets and other materials because they owe fines of $15 or more.

The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library agreed to forgive roughly $2.25 million in outstanding fines. An undisclosed grant from the JPB Foundation will cover a significant portion of those lost funds.

From The NY Times

The amnesty “is a dramatic way to message to kids and young adults that we want you back, and we want you reading,” said Anthony W. Marx, the president of the New York Public Library. The forgiveness is not conditional on returning any overdue books or DVDs. “We want you to be responsible, but we don’t want to penalize you just because you are too poor to pay the fines.”


Since 2015, the District of Columbia’s Public Library System has not penalized children 19 and under for late or lost materials, expanding on its already fee-free policy for children’s books. “We didn’t want the reason you didn’t come to the library to be fear that you owed money,” said George Williams, a spokesman for that library system.

San Francisco offered a six-week fine forgiveness period this year, during which it unblocked the cards of more than 5,000 people and recovered nearly 700,000 items, including one book that was overdue by a century.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.