City of Syracuse Announces Fine-Free Library Cards For Children

Under New Miner Administration Program, City Will Pay $7,000 Per Year Covering the Cost Of Fines, Preventing Blocks on Cards

Miner: Making Sure Young People Keep Reading Will Write the Next Chapter of Opportunity

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Mayor Stephanie A. Miner announced today that under a new administration initiative, the City of Syracuse will cover the cost of library fines for cardholders under 18 who live in the City of Syracuse and eliminate fines for children and teen materials at City libraries. Mayor Miner made this announcement at the Soule library on Springfield Road in Syracuse today.

“We cannot allow economic barriers to come between children and a love of reading. To keep children reading at grade level and preventing the ‘summer slide’ we need to do whatever we can to keep books in the hands of young readers. I am pleased to implement this policy,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner.  “As a City facing the digital divide, we need children to stay at grade-level so they can succeed in high school and be college, career, and civic ready.  Making sure our young people continue reading is the surest way they stay on track at school and write the next chapter of opportunity.”

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Sharon L. Contreras, Ph.D. and Mayor Stephanie A. Miner

“Breaking barriers to literacy is critical to ensuring the children of our community are on track to grade-level reading skills,” said Sharon L. Contreras, Ph.D., Superintendent of the Syracuse City School District. “I am pleased to support Mayor Miner and the City’s efforts to support childhood literacy in the City of Syracuse. Forgiving library fines is an issue of economic justice that will help every child in Syracuse realize their full potential.”

Currently, over $60,000 in outstanding fines are owed by the over 14,900 library cardholders under the age of 18 in the City of Syracuse. Each year, approximately $7,000 in fines are paid back to the City’s libraries. 4,983 of library cards for those under 18 are “blocked,” meaning they owe more than $5 in accrued fines/fees and they are barred from checking out library materials.

Under Mayor Miner’s new plan, libraries will forgive the $60,000 in outstanding fines for cardholders under 18 living in the City of Syracuse. The City will begin contributing $7,000 to the library system for the next five years, eliminating fines on children and teen materials at City libraries. This will recoup the cost of fines not paid to the library administration. Card blocks will also be eliminated.

Mayor Miner has a lengthy track record of supporting childhood literacy. Mayor Miner has funded the Imagination Library program, which provides a free book to children from birth through the beginning of school. Since becoming Mayor, Miner has sponsored a summer reading challenge in the Syracuse City School District. As a Common Councilor and as a Mayor, she worked to implement Say Yes to Education in the City of Syracuse and its holistic program of supports, including academic intervention and literacy programming.