Salt Lake County library system drops late fees on books for children, teens

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's largest library system will no longer assess overdue fines for books, music or movies for children and teenagers, Salt Lake County announced Friday.

The change — which went into effect Thursday — was approved by the county council, after Mayor Jenny Wilson included it as a priority in her proposed budget last fall. That followed a pilot program launched last summer to eliminate fines.

Salt Lake County Council Chairwoman Laurie Stringham said in a statement the projects will have "a positive impact on the residents of Salt Lake County," calling libraries places "where you can learn, and grow, and develop new talents, and have access to resources and tools you might not have in your home."

Fees will be eliminated only on materials categorized for children and teenagers, which were checked out some 5.5 million times throughout the library system last year, according to the county. The library system — which covers residents across Salt Lake County who live outside Salt Lake City — reported 2.5 million visitors in 2023.

Councilwoman Ann Granato called the approval of the program "a huge nonpartisan group effort" by members of the council.

"This initiative encourages families to read together and promotes literacy among our kids, which is important for our community," Councilwoman Susanne Harrison said. "By removing the costs that often hinder families from engaging in shared reading experiences, we ensure that every family, regardless of their financial situation, can access these invaluable resources and bond over the joy of reading."

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Bridger Beal-Cvetko covers Utah politics, Salt Lake County communities and breaking news for He is a graduate of Utah Valley University.


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