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Arapahoe Libraries are ditching fees for late returns

Procrastinators, rejoice

Procrastinators, rejoice! Local library eliminating overdue fees

If you’ve been afraid to return to the library in Arapahoe County for fear of a stack of overdue fees, you can now do so without shame.

Arapahoe Libraries is eliminating all fines for overdue books. The library system will only charge a replacement fee if a book isn’t returned within 30 days of its due date.

“The reality is fines aren't always friendly,” said Jessica Sidener, spokeswoman for Arapahoe Libraries. “And sometimes they create feelings among our community and patrons that involve embarrassment, guilt, shame.”

The move matches other library systems in the country, like Columbus, Ohio and Salt Lake City, that have eliminated their overdue fees to get more patrons through the doors.

“We need to change as the world changes around us,” Sidener said.

The library said it collected $139,000 in overdue fines last year. And through that process library staff spent a lot of time working on fine collection.

The $139,000 is less than one percent of the library’s operating budget, Sidener said.

A spokesman for Denver Public Library said leaders are exploring a similar concept.

The "replacement fee" will be waived once the book is returned.

And, for what it's worth, they've also ditched the cliche "shushing" thing - an "anti-shhh" policy, if you will. That means that making a little noise is okay. You'll only be asked to quite down if you're truly disruptive.