Philadelphia library wants to eliminate fines for children

May 7, 2013 at 3:42 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, May 7 (UPI) -- A proposed Philadelphia City Council ordinance would block the public library system from eliminating fines for overdue books checked out by children.

The Free Library of Philadelphia, the 10th largest public library system in the United States, announced the plan last month, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Library officials argued that library fines discourage children from reading and said children would be allowed to check out books as long as they didn't have anything currently overdue.

But three City Council members argue that library fines are good for both children and the city's budget. They introduced a bill last week ordering the library to charge children.

"When children are taught that they don't need to return their library books or they can hold onto library books for as long as they want and not have to pay any fine as a result, the councilman thinks that sends a bad message to kids," Chris Pienkowski, an aide to Councilman David Oh, said Monday.

The library has estimated the revenue loss at $70,000, money Oh argues could be put to good use after several years of cuts.

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