San Jose council approves reducing library fines, amnesty program

From San Jose Mercury News

“Major changes are coming to city libraries after San Jose leaders Tuesday agreed to reduce fines, forgive penalties and welcome back borrowers who have been blocked from the library after accruing debt for late or lost items.The San Jose Public Library is strapped with a stunning $6.8 million in unpaid fines and fees. The debt began racking up in 2009 when city leaders doubled penalties for late or missing items — much more than neighboring libraries in San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Clara County.Nearly 40 percent of all San Jose library accounts — about 187,000 — owe the library money, and three cardholders owe $10,000 or more. But the youngest patrons are the ones hit hardest, officials say, because nearly half the blocked accounts belong to youth.”