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N.Y. Public Library to forgive 143,000 young readers' late fees

July 26, 2011 | 10:10 am

More than 143,000 New York City kids have been banned from using the public library after incurring late fees of $15 or more. Starting Tuesday, they're invited back: the N.Y. Public Library is forgiving the fines in an amnesty deal for delinquent young readers.

The move is an effort to encourage the return of 143,000 children and young adults, about 30% of the city's young cardholders, to libraries in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. "Kids might be afraid or ashamed because they are delinquent with the library," library official Jack Martin told the N.Y. Daily News. "The idea of this program is to bring them back in.... We are in such hard economic times and children and teens depend on the library."

The amnesty deal demands something of the kids in exchange for the fee forgiveness: They'll have $1 deducted from their outstanding late fee balance for every 15 minutes they read in the library's Summer Reading Program.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: N.Y. Public Library reading room. Credit: Fiona Bradley via Flickr