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Public libraries want to dump fees for overdue books, materials


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    Omaha, Nebraska (WOWT) — If you forget to drop off your overdue book at an Omaha library, you won’t be looking at a fine.

At its meeting Thursday, the Omaha Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously voted to eliminate all fees for overdue books and materials. The board’s decision on the matter isn’t the final say; the resolution is subject to final approval by the Omaha City Council.

According to an OPL news release, the move is intended to “alleviate barriers to using the library and to encourage patrons to return library materials without fear of punitive action.”

“Overdue fines only accounted for a fraction of a percent of OPL’s overall budget,” Executive Director Laura Marlane said in the release. “This change will not adversely affect OPL’s budget, but it will help to ease the burden of an additional expense during a time when many people are working to restore normalcy to their lives.”

Libraries would, however, continue to charge for replacing lost or missing items, which will apply to anything more than three weeks late.

Omaha libraries haven’t been charging overdue fines during the pandemic, waiving such fees since they were forced to close their doors in March 2020. Even when libraries were allowed to re-open in September, the fees were still waived.

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