VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Public Library (VBPL) announced on Thursday that they will no longer charge overdue fines on youth accounts for kids ages 0 to 17. The change is in an effort to increase access to information.
“Equal and equitable access to information is a core value of libraries,” said Director of Libraries Eva Poole. “Removing overdue fines from youth accounts is a first step in removing economic barriers to accessing library materials, especially for children who may need us the most. Inability to pay fines may prevent families from returning materials or visiting the library at all. The goal is to get the materials back into our collection, and to encourage families to continue using the library.”
The new policy goes into effect on July 1, however, previous fines must still be paid. In addition, fees for lost or damaged items will still apply.
According to their press release, teen library accounts for children ages 13 to 17 and student accounts for Virginia Beach City Public School students also no longer have overdue fines.
Officials say they will monitor their collection and usage data, as well as their policies, in hopes of removing overdue fines from all accounts in the future.
Additionally, library officials have removed the $1 fee for materials placed on hold but not picked up and will allow access to digital resources for those who are blocked from checking out physical items.
These changes follow a 2019 resolution passed by the American Library Association (ALA) that determined overdue fines are an equity issue.