DENVER -- The Denver Public Library will stop charging overdue fines for late returns beginning Jan. 1, 2019.
Currently, there are about $474,000 in overdue fines from almost 85,000 customers.
The new program is being dubbed: "No Shame. No Blame. No Fines.
“From now on, we will no longer charge fines for overdue materials. If anyone is feeling like they can’t come back because they owe us money or they are embarrassed about it, or they are shameful about it, we are saying, 'Come on back in. We want to get you back into borrowing.'" Said Chris Henning from the Denver Public Library.
However, users who keep a book more than 14 days past its due date will be banned from checking out more materials until the originals are returned. Moreover, items not returned by the 28th day will be considered lost and a replacement fee will be charged.
Additionally, while overdue fines have been eliminated, those who still owe the library for damaged or lost materials may need to settle their accounts. Current balances can be checked on the library's website.
The library said that users cannot get away with never returning items while also not being charged.
"If you wait too long, your account may be referred to a collection agency. We want our stuff back so other customers can use them, too! Accounts are referred to collections on the 56th day overdue. At that point, a non-negotiable $10 fee is assessed to cover costs we incur pursuing collection action," its website states.
The Denver Public Library says it has never charged late fees to seniors and stopped collecting fines on kids' materials in 2008. In 2014, fines were dropped for young adult materials.
In 2018, fine revenue accounted for $110,339 of Denver's revenue. The city approved the elimination of late fees for the 2019 budget. Last year, the fines accounted for less than .2 percent of all fines collected by the city.