Part of Seattle’s $213 million levy would eliminate overdue library fines
The days of avoiding the library because of a mountain of late fees may soon be over.
On Wednesday, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced plans to use $8 million from her proposed $213 million property-tax levy to eliminate Seattle Public Library fines for late items, reports The Seattle Times.
For Durkan, this is an issue of “historic inequity,” since “higher average balances and blocked accounts occur in greater numbers in lower-income and historically undeserved neighborhoods, resulting in almost 20 percent of Seattle Public Library accounts without access to the library.”
Seattle would join cities like Denver and Saint Paul in eliminating the fines, which are currently 25 cents per day for most items, up to a limit of $8 per item. Items transferred from other libraries have late fees of $1 per day, up to $15 per item. Those who owe more than $15 are blocked from checking out additional items.
The seven-year, $213 million property-tax levy would replace the expiring seven-year, $123 million levy, and would cost a median value homeowner approximately $7 per month, according to the mayor’s office. That’s $1.58 per month more than the current levy.
In addition to eliminating library fines, the levy would extend library hours, fund renovations and maintenance, and invest in library collections and technology services, among other needs.
@MayorJenny is in #D5 to officially share the details of the upcoming @SeattleLibrary levy renewal, which includes expanding library hours, eliminating library fines, increasing digital resources, and more. Check out her Seahawks library card! pic.twitter.com/BBJqFSlxoS
— Councilmember Debora Juarez (@D5Juarez) March 13, 2019
From story time to summer learning programs to adult learning classes, The Seattle Public Library advances equity, education, and opportunity for all who call Seattle home. We must continue our investments in @SPLBuzz to build our city of the future. https://t.co/7gY2nNDaCj pic.twitter.com/fqo9BtsFGh
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) March 13, 2019