St. Paul council set to approve amnesty for overdue book fines

St. Paul residents stand on the cusp of amnesty for library late fees.

On Wednesday, the St. Paul City Council is set to approve the library system's $20 million budget, which includes more than $215,000 to make up for the amount collected in late fees each year. Beginning Jan. 1, the city also will forgive more than $2.5 million in accumulated late fees for more than 51,000 delinquent cardholders whose rights to borrow have been revoked since 2009.

Nearly one in five library cardholders now have their rights blocked. City leaders want them to come back to the library.

Mayor Melvin Carter earlier proposed a 3.2 percent library budget increase from 2018. If the City Council approves Carter's plan — as expected — St. Paul will join Washington County and a number of cities outside Minnesota, including Salt Lake City, Nashville and Eau Claire, Wis., in eliminating late fees.