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Claremont Courier - A Local Nonprofit Newsroom

Read away your fines at the Claremont Public Library

Late fees and other library fines can pile up, discouraging or even preventing some readers from visiting the Claremont Library. Fortunately for them, the County of Los Angeles Public Library has launched the Great Read Away, which will allow all library cardholders age 21 and younger to read off any outstanding fees and fines.

Through the program, customers will have their fees decreased by $5 for every hour they spend reading at the Claremont Library or any other LA county library.

The program will apply to all reading material in the library, including books, ebooks, graphic novels, comic books, magazines, newspapers, digital databases and articles. Customers can also listen to audiobooks or have books read to them by a parent or guardian.

The Great Read Away will allow customers to read off fees of any type, including late fees, lost book fees and library card replacement fees.

“Currently, 13 percent of youth cardholders are blocked from library access because of fines, which means they are no longer able to enjoy library services,” a press release from the county library stated.

The program aims to allow young readers to clear fines from their accounts and entice them to read in the safe environment of a county library.

Any customer wishing to participate in the program can talk to a staff member at the Claremont Library to register. To earn fee reductions, customers will be required to sign in and out of the library while reading there, and will be granted fee reductions upon signing out.

The library now offers new extended hours, so Claremont’s readers will have more opportunities to visit the library to catch up on reading or simply enjoy the air conditioning. The library will be open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Great Read Away, which launched at the beginning of June, comes on the heels of Amnesty Month in May, during which time late fees for overdue materials were waived.

Like the Great Read Away, Amnesty Month was designed to encourage customers with overdue materials and outstanding fees to visit the library. The county is focused on ensuring that customers are not excluded from the library due to difficulties with paying fees.

“My highest priority is always making sure that our resources are available to our community, and so if there are ever fines or fees that are preventing people from using the library, please come and talk to me,” Claremont Library Manager Amy Crow said in a public comment during the June 13 meeting of the Claremont City Council.

In addition to the Great Read Away, the Claremont Library will be hosting a variety of free activities for its younger customers throughout the summer. The library will have free children’s programs every Wednesday at 2 p.m. and free programs for tweens and teens—from age 11 to age 18—every Thursday at 2 p.m. through the end of July.

For customers of all ages, Claremont will have free chess and checkers sets and refreshments available every Tuesday at 2 p.m. through August 29. The library’s Makermobile will also be at the library at 2 p.m. on July 15 and August 19 with robotics activities.

Customers interested in learning more about the Great Read Away can speak to any librarian at the Claremont Library.

—Marc Rod

marc.rod12@gmail.com

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