Photo courtesy of the Dallas Public Library.

The dreaded late fee is no more at the Dallas Public Library.

During its Wednesday meeting, the Dallas City Council passed an agenda item amending the library ordinance in the Dallas City Code. The amendment eliminates library fines, the $1 fee for failure to present a library card and the $4 replacement fee for a new library card. It also authorizes the library director to administer two yearly amnesty periods to forgive some or all fees accrued by account holders.

“The library’s mission is to provide access for all,” Director of Libraries Jo Giudice said in a statement. “Late fines create barriers by punishing people who are unable to pay them. Eliminating fines is an issue of equity.”

The elimination is expected to decrease the City of Dallas’ annual revenue by $150,000, according to the City Council meeting agenda. But most people who have outstanding fines don’t pay them, so it’s not a huge loss, Giudice said in the statement.

It will take several weeks to forgive all existing fines, but account holders can do so by visiting their local branch and asking staff to clear their fines.

But library users aren’t completely off the hook for late books. Under the new rules, once an item is a week overdue, the replacement cost of the book and a processing fee will be charged to the user’s account. That account will be blocked from any future checkouts until the overdue item is returned. Once the overdue item is returned, all fees will be forgiven.

Account holders can also work to remove accrued fees during amnesty periods by volunteering or participating in community activities.

To find out if you have outstanding fines, log in to your online account here.

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