Starting Monday, you have a week to return those books the Kern County Library and clear your conscience. Another week-long amnesty follows in July
For the first time ever, the Kern County Library is holding a one-time Amnesty Program during two weeks this Summer.
Kids, teens, and adults will have the opportunity to receive a clean slate by reading, donating, or returning materials at any of the Kern County Library's 24 branches or 2 bookmobiles.
The concept of amnesty in libraries is not new. It has resulted in many successful programs across the country, and has helped systems promote the return of much needed library materials and the increased use of library services. Often, fees that were intended to encourage a prompt return of materials do the exact opposite of what they are intended to do. Instead, customers hang on to materials, for fear of financial consequences. In effect, fines become a serious barrier to access for many, especially for those who can least afford it. At this time, there are over 36,000 library card holders that are blocked from checking out library materials.
This Amnesty Program is a part of a larger effort to encourage the community to rethink public libraries.
"We are evolving as a public library system and responding to the families that we serve," said Director of Kern County Libraries Andie Sullivan . We want to change our traditional image and foster a friendlier culture of goodwill in Kern County Libraries. Forgiving fines helps us be aware of our customer needs, while also supporting literacy, local food banks, and animal services. It helps us be more welcoming and supportive of learning for all."
Although this is the first time that the Kern County Library is offering Amnesty, the program is expected to recoup some of the County¹s investment in materials. More importantly, the program is expected to reunite a significant number of families with their local Kern County Library.
The Amnesty Program offer does not apply to accounts in collections, and other exceptions may apply.