2011-09-30 / Community

Turning The Page On Library Fees

New York City’s three library systems are teaming up to give children and teens across the five boroughs the opportunity to eliminate their prior fees and regain their library privileges in the joint “New Chapter” program, which launched this week and runs through October 31. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the launch at the Seward Park Branch Library in Manhattan. A

Patrons through the age of 17 will not be charged late penalties when returning overdue books through October 31. The program is designed to encourage children and teens to return to their libraries and check out new materials without the fear of having to pay large, longstanding fines. With the new school year underway, giving students access to their public library is more important than ever.

In Queens, library customers will be issued New Chapter library cards, which are brand new accounts with limited borrowing privileges. All library materials that are returned before October 31 will be exempt from overdue fees. To clear the old account balance and regain full borrowing privileges, young people under 18 are invited to participate in Monster Read Down Your Fees. Through it, young people may read in the library and receive $5 credit toward their fees owed. Alternatively, they may choose to bring in a book review or report on a book they have read at home or in school and receive another $5 credit. Queens Library has had a Read Down Your Fees program for many years; up until October 31, they will receive five times the normal Read Down Your Fees credit.

The goal of this program at Brooklyn Public Library, The New York Public Library and Queens Library is to welcome children and teens back to their local libraries. When patrons accrue $15 or more in fines, their library temporarily suspends their borrowing privileges until the fine is paid. Across the city, nearly 100,000 kids and teens will benefit from the New Chapter program.

“We want to keep our kids reading, not worrying about fines they may not be able to pay,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “Thanks to McGraw-Hill’s generosity, more of our children will be able to come back to our libraries and enjoy them as centers of learning and discovery.”

The “New Chapter” program was made possible, in part, by The McGraw-Hill Companies, which made a generous contribution to pay a substantial portion of the fines for all three systems.

“Let’s not close the book on the future of thousands of New York City’s young people by locking the doors to the vibrant learning opportunities afforded by our public libraries,” said Harold McGraw III, Chairman, President and CEO of The McGraw-Hill Companies and a trustee of The New York Public Library. “McGraw-Hill is thrilled to support such a terrific program that welcomes children back to the library system and brightens their future through reading.”

Although “New Chapter” is a joint program, each Library system has its own waiver requirements. For more information, please visit brooklynpubliclibrary.org, nypl.org and queenslibrary.org.

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