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Sep 6, 2013 10:32 AM by Ryan Haarer

Pima County waives library late fees for kids and teens

TUCSON- The Pima County Library says late fees have kept 50,000 kids from returning to the book shelves. In the interest of literacy the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to eliminate late fees for kids and teens.

The Ramos family is full of book worms.

"We check out new books and we check out about eight books a week," said Jonathan Ramos.

If eight books are forgotten for too long the fees can really add up. But, some say the fines aren't all that effective.

"Studies have shown nationwide that fines and late charges do not bring books back any sooner," said Karyn Prechtel, deputy director of public services for the library.

The main concern the library has is getting kids to read in a county that needs to improve its literacy rate. They felt too many kids weren't returning for fear of having to pay a fine.

"It's like a clean slate. Everyone can come back and start fresh," said Prechtel.

But, what lesson do the kids get without consequences?

"We questioned whether that's the library's role to teach that responsibility. We want kids to read and the last thing we want to do is put barriers in their way."

The one time waiver was a grand total of over a million dollars in fees. The library tells me most of that is uncollectable debt.

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