This Friday, a groundbreaking new era begins for SAPL

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The San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) just took a step to make life a little softer – a little more forgiving.

As of Friday, October 1, the SAPL system will no longer charge dunning fees for books and other media that are borrowed and returned to the library late. The landmark decision comes with the adoption of the budget year 2022 by the city council.

The aim of the elimination of fines is to remove financial barriers that keep people from accessing library resources. In 2019, a similar initiative on the honor system was carried out with materials used by children and adolescents.

“Libraries are there for everyone,” says Paul Stahl, chairman of the SAPL board of trustees. “Nobody should be afraid to visit the local library or use the services because they are concerned that they will owe money if their book is returned too late. The Board of Trustees of the library thanks the city council and the city administration for the support and guidance of this important initiative. ”

San Antonio Central Public Library perspective view time of day

AbeSnap23 / Getty Images / iStockphoto

In recent years, libraries across the country have begun to rethink the purpose of late fines and ultimately decide to get rid of them. Institutions from the Chicago Public Library to the Los Angeles Public Library are part of this national trend.

“SAPL has made great strides over the years in making library services increasingly accessible to San Antonians,” notes Ramiro S. Salazar, director of the San Antonio Public Library, in another statement. “From building new facilities to offering innovative services, SAPL is always focused on promoting better access to the library. The elimination of overdue fines is another example of the library’s commitment to providing inclusive and equal access to library services for all. ”

Although the official deadline is only a few days away, those currently afflicted with an overdue fee are still urged to call their local library branch or 210-207-2500 to arrange payment. There are plans for fees that are paid over a longer period of time.

In 2014, Mary Esther Zahradnick searches the Texana and Genealogy Department of the San Antonio Public Library for information.  Zahradnick, a member of the Hispanic genealogy group Los Bexareños, used the department to trace her ancestors back to 1741.
In 2014, Mary Esther Zahradnick searches the Texana and Genealogy Department of the San Antonio Public Library for information. Zahradnick, a member of the Hispanic genealogy group Los Bexareños, used the department to trace her ancestors back to 1741.Kin Man Hui / San Antonio Express News

Library users can search a database of libraries across the country that have already made the switch to fines here. For more information on library events and details, see mysapl.org


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