699,000+ Items Returned During Library Fine Forgiveness Period

For Immediate Release: Media Contact: Katherine Jardine (415) 557-4295;
City Librarian Luis Herrera with Webb Johnson during the return of a 100 year past due book.
699,563 items were dropped off during San Francisco Public Library's latest fine forgiveness program from Jan. 3 – Feb. 14, 2017. During the six-week period, late fees were waived on all returned books, CDs, DVDs and other materials, regardless of how long overdue.  Included were 12,246 items that were more than 60 days past due. The value of those long overdue items was nearly $236,000. Among the older items returned in the “We Want You Back” campaign was a collection of short stories titled 40 Minutes Late clocking in at 100 years past due. The book was returned in January to Park Branch, San Francisco Public Library’s oldest branch building. Also returned was Brass, a Novel of a Marriage by Charles Norris with a due date stamp of 1937, making the item 80 years past due. Both books were originally borrowed by the patron’s great-grand parents. A collection of 19 of the most overdue items are on display it in the atrium of the Main Library. San Francisco library patrons saved $329,797 in overdue materials fines and more than 5,000 patrons were able to obtain a clean slate on their record. Ryan Kuang, a sophomore at UCLA and former Board of Advising Youth member, visited the Mix at SFPL on his last day of winter break to say hello to staff and have his fines forgiven. Youth library cards are fine-free, but now that Kuang is an adult he faced over $72 in outstanding fines. After speaking with a library staff member, his record was cleared. Fine forgiveness is an opportunity for residents to reconnect with the library. The program allows the Library to recover materials and gives patrons with overdue items a clear record. The program aligns with the Library’s commitment to eliminating barriers to service and providing basic access for all San Franciscans, especially those most in need of library services. To spread the word about the amnesty, SFPL partnered with Recovering the Classics, a crowdsourced collection of original book covers for works in the public domain. Among the titles selected were L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, coupled with the beloved mantra “there’s no place like home.” Photos and patron contract information for interviews available upon request.  
February 27, 2017