Mayor Garcetti: L.A. Public Library will end Late Fines

All late fines will be eliminated starting in the spring of 2020

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today that the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) will end late fines for all library patrons beginning next spring — making LAPL the largest public library in America to eliminate overdue fines.

“Our library is a civic and cultural treasure, and everyone in the city should be able to share in the wealth of information, enrichment, and entertainment in our collection,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We are ending these fines because patrons show care and integrity in the handling of these precious materials — and nothing should stand in the way of Angelenos who want to share in all the library has to offer.”

Historically, fines for overdue materials have disproportionately impacted families and individuals with limited resources, and these penalties are often a deterrent to library access. Making LAPL fine-free removes that barrier — and will encourage library use and is expected to increase the number of library cardholders.    

Fines for overdue materials will end in Spring 2020. Charges for overdue materials incurred before the new policy takes effect will also be eliminated. Going fine-free will also eliminate the $10.00 non-refundable service fine for lost items, and will also increase the number of times materials can be renewed from two to three — unless the specific item is requested by another patron.

The replacement costs for materials that are more than 45 days overdue from the last renewal, also known as lost fees, will not be impacted by the new policy. Library patrons are still responsible for paying for any damaged materials.

These changes are not expected to impact LAPL’s budget, as revenue from fines has steadily decreased over the past six years and today accounts for less than 1% of the Library’s operating budget.

“At the Los Angeles Public Library, we are proud to serve the largest, most diverse population of any library in the nation,” said City Librarian John F. Szabo. “We welcome everyone, and we are all about equity, access, opportunity, empowerment and lifelong learning. By removing barriers and going fine-free, we will be better able to serve everyone in Los Angeles.”

Today’s announcement follows a unanimous vote of the Board of Library Commissioners, who are appointed by Mayor Garcetti.

“When Mayor Garcetti appointed me to the Board of Library Commissioners, I was already a big believer in the power of our library — and I continue to be inspired by the creativity and innovation of library staff,” said Board of Library Commissioners President Bich Ngoc Cao. “This policy change will be a game changer for many families in Los Angeles, and we are excited for them to take advantage of the library.”

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About the Los Angeles Public Library
The Los Angeles Public Library serves the largest and most diverse population of any library in the nation. Its Central Library, 72 branch libraries, more than six million books, and state-of-the-art technology accessible at www.lapl.org, provide everyone with free and easy access to information and the opportunity for life-long learning.