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Phoenix City Council Votes to Make Phoenix the Largest City in the Nation to Have a "Fine-Free" Library SystemPhoenix City Council Votes to Make Phoenix the Largest City in the Nation to Have a "Fine-Free" Library System<div class="ExternalClassE99F1DB673B84642A6B4D7C7645C26CF"><p>​Today, Phoenix Public Library customers have one less barrier to enjoying library materials after Phoenix City Council approved Phoenix Public Library's request to become a "fine-free" library. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego states, "Our libraries offer far more to residents than books--they offer the path to a changed future. Their resources are available to all but we know that for some residents, the prospect of a late fee can act as a deterrence to using library services in the first place. That changed today when our council voted unanimously to ensure access to libraries is not limited by finances and made Phoenix the largest city in the nation to have 'fine-free' libraries."<br></p><p>Planned for implementation in November 2019 "All Fines Forgiven" will eliminate charging overdue fines on late-returned materials and forgive existing overdue fines. Research indicates there is no impact on the return of library materials by charging fines, and fines disproportionately affect access to library resources for those in our communities that need them most. Phoenix City Librarian Rita Hamilton, pleased with the vote, stated, "With over a century of service, Phoenix Public Library continues to reinvent itself, stay responsive and relevant to our communities. We continue to look for ways to push the boundaries of what a public library can be and deliver responsive customer service. Ensuring that access to our resources is as equitable as possible, is the ultimate goal of launching our "All Fines Forgiven" campaign.</p><p>In addition to voting to support "All Fines Forgiven", Phoenix City Councilmembers voiced their support of the library:</p><p>"Phoenix Public Library's core mission is to provide equitable services and access to information and resources to all customers," said Phoenix Councilwoman Debra Stark. "With this unanimous vote, the library system will become completely inclusive to all residents."</p><p>"Today, Phoenix became the largest city in the U.S. to implement a library fine forgiveness program," said Phoenix Councilwoman Laura Pastor. "Now all residents will have access to Phoenix Public Libraries and the important resources they provide."</p><p>"With over three million visits a year to 17 locations, Phoenix Public Libraries are an integral part of our city, said Phoenix Councilwoman Betty Guardardo. "I am proud to support the fine forgiveness program, which will allow for inclusive access to resources and information for all residents."<br></p><p>“Library fines only act as a deterrent for residents," said Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio. “By implementing the fine forgiveness program, Phoenix Public Library will now keep the doors open and welcoming to everyone."​<br></p><p>"For many families, Phoenix Public Libraries are vital for access to computers and other educational resources, said Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski. "The fine forgiveness program helps some of our most vulnerable populations re-gain access to libraries. This is a win for all Phoenix reside​​nts."</p><p>"I was proud to vote today on the approval of a fine forgiveness program for the Phoenix Public Library," said Phoenix Councilmember Carlos Garcia. "I hope moving from punitive practices continues to be a trend for programs in our city to make them more inclusive for all. I also requested today that city staff look into a rewards program for those who have the good habit of returning their items on time. We know that many in District 8 have stopped using our libraries because of fines and fees and we hope that those residents will feel welcomed back into our libraries when this goes into effect."</p><p>For more information, call 602-262-4636 or visit <a href="http://lists.phoenix.gov/t/1418607/5827421/2299/3/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" data-auth="NotApplicable">phoenixpubliclibrary.org</a>. Phoenix Public Library is a system of 16 branch libraries and the Burton Barr Central Library.  Follow us on Twitter at <a href="http://lists.phoenix.gov/t/1418607/5827421/2300/6/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" data-auth="NotApplicable">twitter.com/phxlibrary</a> and like us on Facebook at <a href="http://lists.phoenix.gov/t/1418607/5827421/5411/9/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" data-auth="NotApplicable">facebook.com/phoenixpubliclibrary</a>.</p><p>​</p><p><br></p></div>9/11/2019 2:40:00 AMLee Franklin602-534-2025