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Library News Release

Release Date: 10/03/2003

The Seattle Public Library to increase fines and fees

The Seattle Public Library will implement a new fines and fees schedule beginning Monday, Dec. 1, 2003.

The Seattle Public Library board of trustees approved the increases to fines and fees to help generate more revenue and to bring the charges in line with similarly-sized library systems. The Library currently collects approximately $500,000 a year in fines and fees, which help support its operating budget. It is anticipated that the new fines and fees schedule will generate approximately $50,000 more in revenue for the Library.

The Seattle Public Library's operating budget has been cut more than $7 million in the last few years because of continued economic decline. The Library has balanced its budget by reducing open hours and the book budget and by shutting down the Library system for two weeks a year.

The daily fine for overdue materials was last increased in 1992, when it was raised to 10 cents from 5 cents a day. Prior to that, the daily overdue charge had not been changed since 1961, when it went up to 5 cents from 2 cents a day.

The new fines and fees schedule is as follows:

Adult materials overdue: 15 cents a day per item (was 10 cents)

Maximum overdue fine: $6 per item (was $4)

Large print materials: will accrue fines (had been fine-free)

Library Card balance $15 (was $20). Library users with a balance of $15 or more will lose borrowing privileges.

Library Card replacement charge for adults and young adults age 13 and older: $1 (no charge before). Initial card is free.

Visitor card $15 for three-month card (was $10).

Non-resident card $55 for 12-month card (was $50).

The Library will not charge for overdue children's materials, as is currently the policy. Overdue adult materials checked out on a child's card, however, will accrue fines beginning Dec. 1, 2003. Children who lose their Library Cards will not be charged replacement fees.

For more information, call the Borrower Services Department at 206-386-4190.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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