BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — If you are one of those people that recently went through your closet and discovered a copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird" from the the Beale Memorial Library that you checked out as a senior in high school... five years ago and thought "the late fees on this are going to be a killer" - well, we may have good news for you.
The Kern County Library is holding an Amnesty Program this summer. For the entire month of August kids, teens and adults "will have the opportunity to clear fees on their Kern County Library card by reading, donating, or returning materials at any of the Kern County Library’s 24 branches or 2 bookmobiles."
This isn't the first time that the Kern County Library has enacted "amnesty" for readers.
“Last year, our first-ever Amnesty Program was well-received by the community. We are listening to our customer’s needs and that’s why providing an opportunity to fine forgiveness is so important to us," explained Director of Kern County Libraries Andie Sullivan. "We are changing our traditional image, fostering a friendlier culture of goodwill in Kern County Libraries, and encouraging the community to rethink their public libraries. Through this second year of Amnesty, we want to welcome Kern residents back to KCL.”
Often times late fees, which were designed to get readers to return borrowed books on time, had the exact opposite effect.
"Customers hang on to materials, for fear of financial consequences. In effect, fines become a serious barrier to access for many, especially for those who can least afford it."
Of course, this amnesty is a limited time offer and may not apply to those accounts already in collections.
So, don't wait. Dig that copy of "Fahrenheit 451" out of the back of your closet and return it to the library