San Joaquin County bookstores eschew late charges on children, teen books, print materials

STOCKTON (CBS SF / BCN) – Library users no longer have to worry about overdue fees on books and print materials checked out from the children and teen sections at Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Libraries, city officials announced this week.

The new library rule took effect last week and applies to everyone no matter their age, according to a press release from the city.

“Every child or teen should have access to library materials without late charges,” Deputy Director and City Librarian Jenni Fontanilla said in the press release. “This small change will make a big difference and allow children, youth, and families to enjoy the boundaries of reading and learning, without the concern of ultimately paying fines.”

The policy, approved by the Stockton City Council and the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, will additionally apply to the Bookmobile, a traveling library that carries books for all ages.

According to the city, in 2019 the American Library Association passed a resolution that cited evidence claiming that eliminating fines would increase library card signups as well as library use.

The resolution also recognized that charging fines was a form of social inequity and called for libraries to remove the fees.

“Going fine free will allow more people to enjoy our materials for education, enrichment, and inspiration,” Fontanilla said.

Charges for lost or damaged library items will still apply, according to Fontanilla.

More library information can be found at its website.

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