Central library waives fines for teens and children's overdue books

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 10/11/2012 9:17 am Published: 10/10/2012 4:35 pm

The Tulsa Central Library has a new solution for helping children read, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

Reading among kids is on the decline. In Tulsa alone, the number of kids who check out books is on the decline too. The library’s new goal is to help kids read and save their parents money.

Reading a book can take you to places you’ve never been before. It allows you to leave reality and soar into fantasy. For 10-year-old Trinity Churchill, that’s where the magic lies.

"I like to read Halloween books and I like to read chapter books,” she says.

We found her pouring over books at the Central Library.

"Most of the kids at school don't like reading and I don't know why. Most of the time we have to do test, after test, after test and right after that we have to read for about an hour,” says Trinity.

The library is hoping to change that lack of desire. As of October 1, it will no longer be charging fines on any children or teen books and movies.

"We don't want there to be barriers for children to check out books and in the past, if their fines got to a certain level, then their cards were blocked and they couldn't check out books,” says Marianne Stambaugh with the Central Library.

However, adults will still be held accountable for a late item.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, teens and young adults are showing a steady decline in reading.

"Another really troubling statistic that we find is that they're spending more time on their devices, and watching TV up to two hours a day and less than 15 minutes doing recreational reading,” says Emily Tichenor, Central Library Teen Services Coordinator.

There is some good news though. Movies like Twilight and Harry Potter have ushered young readers like Trinity back to their local library. One fact that’s not fiction is that if you keep a book or movie longer than 45 days, you will be charged for that item.

According to the US Department of Education, children whose parents read to them at home can more easily recognize all letters of the alphabet, count to 20 or higher and write their own names at a younger age.

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