These Public Libraries Are Now More Welcoming!

Reading books just got simpler.


Two young students getting books from a public library shelf.

(Jacob Lund /

Carpets, yellow lighting, books, the smell of well-read pages and ink — there are few things better than these to bookworms and library lovers worldwide. 

An end to late fees for more public library users
To those who have had the privilege of walking down the tiled floors and between the isles of the grand, high-ceilinged and historic structure of the New York Public Library, this news will come as a pleasant surprise. In early October, 2021, the library announced that all late fees for library card holders will be abolished, effective immediately.

Ending patron’s late fees has been a bit of a trend around major cities like Los Angeles as well as smaller communities, writes Rachel Krammer Brussel on She explains that people with limited incomes tend to stay away from libraries from fear of incurring debt. Eliminating the late fees seems like a good way to promote library memberships and promote reading, which is exactly what libraries are about.

Libraries need a way to ensure their books are being returned in a timely fashion and that people are taking care of them, but it seems like the right method to do that is up for discussion. According to CNN, there is little evidence that fines incentivize people to return a library’s materials. On the contrary, some libraries have shown immediate positive effects after dropping these fees. 

Patrick Molly, the Chicago Public Library Director, told CNN that more books were returned after the fines had been eliminated than before that — 1,500 books returned every month compared to 900 books returned per month before the fees were dropped.

Libraries are changing to help offer access to knowledge and resources for all
Anthony W. Marx, President of the New York Public Library, echoed the findings from Chicago’s library. He called the late fees an “antiquated and ineffective” practice in a recent  news release. Marx is proud of this new era for the library, and this step towards a more equitable society where low-income families don’t have to think too much before borrowing a book. He believes that more New Yorkers will now be able to have access to libraries and to reading.

The New York Public Library was founded in 1895 and has unwaveringly served the country through all the ups and downs it has been through. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the library adapted itself and did what had to be done in order to give the people the information and resources they needed. The Library was founded on the ideals of free and open access to knowledge and opportunity for everyone, and now, with the elimination of late fees, even more families and individuals will be able to access it without thinking twice.

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