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San Diego may close the book on library fines

A child looks at books in a library in a street of the Bel Air district in the city of Rennes, France, on October 22, 2014.
A child looks at books in a library in a street of the Bel Air district in the city of Rennes, France, on October 22, 2014.
GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

San Diego may decide to close the book on library fines.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that library director Misty Jones laid out the idea of eliminating fines for overdue items to a City Council committee last week. She'll present it to the full council in April.

Currently, people who owe $10 in fines can have their library lending privileges suspended. About 22 percent of San Diego library customers have had their accounts frozen. Many are from low-income areas.

Officials in Los Angeles have already created a special library car for kids that waives overdue fines for patrons under 18 years old. In 2016, they also held an amnesty period when users could return overdue books and materials without paying any fees.

Nintendo's David Young uses the Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS game to teach kids about the basics of video game design during a workshop at then Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library on Jan. 27, 2017.
Nintendo's David Young uses the Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS game to teach kids about the basics of video game design during a workshop at then Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library on Jan. 27, 2017.
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Nintendo of Ame

The city's 36-branch system has 300,000 overdue items valued at more than $4 million.

Jones says that discourages them from using the library and might actually keep them from returning overdue items.

The city also says it costs more in staff overtime to handle fines than it collects.

Nashville, Salt Lake City and Columbus, Ohio have also eliminated some or all fines.