Open Post: Hosted By Thousands Of Overdue Books Being Returned After The New York Public Library Ended Late Fees

April 1, 2022 / Posted by:

Irresponsible book lovers of New York, rejoice! Last fall the New York Public Library announced that they would no longer enforce late fees. And, luckily, this updated policy is retroactive. So if you borrowed a book 50 years ago and never returned it, you’re totally off the hook. The move has inspired the return of over 72,000 lost or overdue items to branches in Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. Hey, if the library ends up with too many books, might I suggest donating some to poor Ashley Tisdale?

CBS News interviewed Midtown branch manager Billy Parrot, who showed off a stack of long lost books recently returned to the library:

“Due date 1959. This is one that just came in — 1976. I want to see what was happening that day. Giants won the pennant!” Parrot said with a laugh.

Some are returned with a note of apology, like the one Moore saw tucked inside a book about how to have a successful marriage. “Funny thing is it didn’t support his efforts in his first and only marriage. It failed, so no wonder he hid the books.”

“Think of the Seinfeld episode,” Parrot said. “People love libraries, but when there are late books they feel guilty.”

Billy Parrot says that overdue fines may have helped the library’s income, but it’s more important that former book-fugitives are coming back to the library for the first time in years. And 30% of the returned readers come from high-need communities. Billy Parrot explains, “Once that barrier is gone and there is a flood of materials back, you realize how much of a barrier it really was.” Awww, Billy Parrot! That’s actually super sweet. Here’s the CBS news report:

Another plus to the abolishment of late fees? No more power-tripping librarians who act like returning a book two days late is akin to murdering their first-born. Guess they’ll have to channel all that rage into extremely aggressive shushing.


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