LIBRARIES: Got something overdue? Fresh Start for All will erase late fees from May 4 and temporarily suspend new ones
Local libraries are offering a break from next Wednesday for people who owe fines for overdue documents – or who are about to incur them. Here is the ad:
On May 4, the King County Library System will eliminate late fines for all patrons with a new initiative called A Fresh Start for All. This one-time waiver gives customers a fresh start on their account and allows access to all KCLS documents. A Fresh Start for All was approved by the KCLS Board of Directors on April 27, 2022.
The coronavirus pandemic has imposed many hardships on communities in King County. To help customers, KCLS temporarily stopped assessing late fines in March 2020. The system also removed electronic access to blocked accounts during this time so customers could still download digital documents.
KCLS will revert to pre-pandemic traffic practices on September 15 and resume assessing late fines at that time. Once their accounts are cleared on May 4, customers will have until September 15 to return items before late fees resume.
KCLS is also launching a new auto-renewal service on September 15. KCLS will automatically renew holds for customers if their items are eligible for renewal. This will allow customers to keep their documents longer without incurring late fines. Customers can opt out of this service if they wish.
Late payment fines accrue when a patron fails to return library materials by the due date. Late fines over $25 will result in an account being frozen. A blocked account restricts access to library services, books, and other materials.
Lost charges are different from late fines. If library materials are more than 30 days overdue, they are considered lost. A Fresh Start for All will not apply to these fees; under state law, KCLS cannot waive forfeited fees. On May 4, the system will start processing lost fees again. KCLS will send billing notices to accounts with charges over $25. Customers will have until September 15 to return items or pay fees before accounts are blocked.
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