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The Racine Public Library Board of Trustees announced today that they are beginning a one-year suspension of overdue fines for all children’s materials. In 2013, the library board suspended overdue fines for children’s books checked out by students ages 5-10 years old. Today, the board is expanding that suspension to all people checking out any format of children’s materials. After one year, the board will receive a report comparing the number of items not returned and consider whether to continue the suspension.
Fines have been identified as a significant barrier to children’s use of library materials.  “it’s unfair to penalize the child, who has no source of income, when the parents/guardians are responsible for the cost of non-returned items,” said Angelina Cruz, one of the board members voting to approve the suspension. Brian O’Connell, another board member, said “In my capacity as a Library Media Specialist for Racine Unified, I see first-hand the difference an interesting and skill-level-appropriate book can make in the reading ability development of a child. So from my perspective, I believe it’s important to remove as many barriers that prevent getting books into the hands of a child as possible.”  
Patrons who do not return overdue children’s materials will be blocked from checking out more items.

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In addition to our education features, we’ll be kicking off a series of stories highlighting how parents, students, and educators are adapting to the impact of COVID-19 on education. If this is important to you, please consider donating to our education reporting fund. https://business.facebook.com/donate/1846323118855149/3262802717172659/