The City of San Leandro Library is joining a national trend by permanently eliminating overdue fines and offering a one-time overdue fine amnesty by waiving outstanding fines.

The library’s proposal was approved March 1 by the City Council and took effect immediately.

“By eliminating overdue fines, the Library will remove financial barriers and restrictions, making the San Leandro Public Library a more equitable place for all of its members,” officials said in a news release. “Library members will still be expected to return library materials on time and will be billed for lost or damaged items.”

The library is also dropping fees for library cards, meaning card memberships will be available to all California residents who apply.

“The fee card policy, which dates back to the 1940s, has been a consistent access barrier for residents of the neighboring town of Ashland, commonly known as unincorporated San Leandro, and the city’s surrounding communities,” officials said. “Removing this policy will allow the library to continue to strengthen its commitment to equitable access for all.”

Bill Sherwood, acting library director, said “The focus of all libraries is to provide free equitable access to its community, which means free, fair, and impartial use of our resources and services. Eliminating these two policies will allow our library system to provide more equitable access, and I hope you will join me in celebrating these historic changes and the library staff that made it happen.”