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Book returns surge 240% after Chicago eliminates fines

CHICAGO (AP) – A Chicago official says hundreds of overdue books have been returned in the three weeks since the city eliminated overdue fines at public libraries.

Library Commissioner Andrea Telli told City Council members Wednesday that the number of returned books has increased by 240%. On Oct. 1 , Chicago became the nation’s largest major city to eradicate overdue library fees.

Telli said people who owe fines can be afraid to go to the library because they can’t afford to pay them. She said fines lead to loss of books and patrons.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2020 budget includes an $18 million property tax increase to fund adding Sunday hours at all 81 libraries, which will gradually roll out throughout the city.

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