Chicago Public Library celebrates blue moon with fine amnesty

By Books Editor Claire Bushey

I just had a $7 library fine erased, and you can, too.

The Chicago Public Library, in honor of the blue moon that will occur on Friday, Aug. 31*, is waiving fines on overdue materials for all patrons from now until Sept. 7. It’s the first amnesty the library has offered in more than 20 years. If, like me, you are better at checking out library materials than returning them, this is a Very Good Thing.

The program aims to recover books, CDs and DVDs that have been troubling guilty consciences for months or years. When the library extended amnesty to patrons in 1985, it recovered 77,000 books worth approximately $1.5 million, according to a press release. A similar program offered earlier this year in Washington, D.C. brought back more than 21,000 items, and 34,000 patron accounts were updated. That’s a lot of readers returning to the fold.

(*What is a blue moon?)