ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – In a meeting on Thursday the Board of Trustees of the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) voted to lift the mask requirement for library patrons and forgive library fines for children.
Starting Friday, library visitors who are not fully vaccinated are still encouraged to wear masks, but will not be required to do so, the library said.
The board also agreed that mask decisions for ACPL staff should be left to library management. Executive Director Susan Baier also announced her intent to continue requiring staff to wear masks for the time being.
The board said it also approved the Fresh Start Amnesty Proposal.
“Approximately 5,200 youth 17 and under have library cards that are blocked due to fines and fees. Fines and fees tend to have the highest impact on patrons who have the greatest need for the library – youth,” the library said.
With the board’s decision, all library cardholders 17 years and younger with outstanding fines and fees balances on their library cards will have them forgiven. This will give them a “Fresh Start” to use ACPL’s resources. The fines and fees will be forgiven on June 3.
The Fresh Start initiative will not permanently change the status of youth cards to fine free, the library said. The purpose is to restore library access to children and teens in time for them to participate in ACPL’s Summer Learning Program and to complete the summer reading recommendations given to them by their schools.
ACPL also wants to ensure that all Allen County children return to school in August with the best school supply – a library card.