Part of Seattle’s $213 million levy would eliminate overdue library fines

Mar 14, 2019, 5:04 AM | Updated: 12:03 pm

library, Seattle library...

(Photo via Seattle Municipal Archives)

(Photo via Seattle Municipal Archives)

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.”

RELATED: Kitsap Library swaps late fees for good old-fashioned guilt

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.

RELATED: Seattle’s school levies passing in February special election

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.

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Part of Seattle’s $213 million levy would eliminate overdue library fines