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Posted December 13, 2017 | 4:49 PM

Libraries Would Rather You Bring it Back than Charge a Fine

Hillsborough County, Fla. (Dec. 13, 2017) - On Jan. 1, the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative (HCPLC) will become the largest system of its kind in the country to eliminate fines for overdue materials.

The new approach doesn't entirely eliminate consequences or fees. Borrowing privileges and access to some online services will be rescinded until the items are returned. Library patrons will be charged for lost or damaged materials, including those 60 days past due. And any fines posted to a cardholder's account before Jan. 1, 2018 are still owed. But if you're one of those customers who's prone to temporarily forgetting deadlines, or would rather avoid the library altogether than admit you possess a long-overdue book, the "Just Bring it Back" initiative can be a guilt-free way to get back in the borrowing game.

Library officials hope that eliminating the fines will encourage more people to take advantage of what libraries have to offer. Beginning Jan. 1, borrowed books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, and more will automatically be renewed up to two times, unless someone else is waiting. The grace period - the time between an item's due-date and imposition of the no-borrowing penalty - will be increased from seven days to eight.

According to the American Library Association, the Tampa-Hillsborough County public library system is 21st in the country in population served. None which rank higher have suspended fines, say HCPLC staff.

The change is part of a broader array of self-service enhancements for library users that include online payment for lost items and eliminating card replacement fees. Coming this spring, new payment options will be available for copying and printing.

Want to know more about the "Just Bring it Back" rules? Call (813) 273-3652, or go to HCPLC.org.

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