The L.A. Public Library Will Absolve You of All Late Fees Starting Today Until Feb. 14

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When a thought even tangentially related to overdue library materials enters my head, I’m immediately reminded of the episode of Seinfeld where the aptly named library cop Mr. Bookman hounds Jerry over a decades-old incident.

Bookman is absolutely dedicated to the service of the public library, and his laser focus is on full display when he confronts Jerry about remediating the unreturned item.


“Look, if you think this is about overdue fines and missing books, you’d better think again. This is about that kid’s right to read a book without getting his mind warped. Or maybe that turns you on, Seinfeld… Maybe that’s how you get your kicks… You and your goodtime buddies… I’ve got a flash for you, joy boy. Party time is over.”

(And that’s just a portion of Bookman’s amazing monologue, played to perfection by Philip Baker Hall. I’ve embedded the rest below for your consumption)

Well, in contrast Bookman’s hard-liner attitude, the Los Angeles Public Library is taking a kindler, gentle approach this month.

As part of their ‘LAPL Misses You‘ campaign, the public library will begin absolving cardholders of their fines and overdue charges over a two week period starting today, February 1, and ending on February 14.

Los Angeles Central Library
Los Angeles Central Library. Credit: Ellen Forsyth via flickr cc

Here’s how the program works:

  • Bring any undamaged, overdue library materials to the circulation desk or book drop at any of the 73 LAPL library branches.
  • The library will forgive the overdue fines (some fees may be excluded from this offer)
  • If your library card has been suspended, it will be reactivated and you can begin using it again.

As mentioned above, not all fines will be forgiven.

Among the items that you will not be able to return include overdue or lost materials that have not been returned or replaced, TechKiosk devices that were removed from the building, damaged and unusable items, or items from other library systems.

On the plus side, library members will also be happy to know that if they have lost their card, they can get a free replacement card during the same two week timeframe.

Overall, Bookman may not have approved, but I certainly do!

Head over to for more info.


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