St. Paul libraries go fine-free — and overdue notices of 51,000 people erased

PUBLISHED: December 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm | UPDATED: December 20, 2018 at 8:25 am

If you’ve shied away from your local library because of overdue book fines, you’re in luck.

The St. Paul Public Library system has officially done away with overdue fines — but you’d still get charged eventually for materials you don’t return.

The decision, which allows some 51,000 patrons with blocked accounts to return to the library system, stems from months of discussion within library administration and with St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s office.

Citing growing bodies of research showing that overdue book fines do more to block and repel low-income patrons than generate cash, Carter announced in August that eliminating the fines would be one of the priorities, opens a new window of his 2019 budget proposal.