Got an overdue book? Public Libraries in Jefferson County has declared fine amnesty in February

Bham Now Producer Pat Byington holding up his newly renewed library card thanks to Public Libraries in Jefferson County’s fine amnesty month. Photo by Bham Now

My run from the library book police is over.

For the month of February 2020, the Public Libraries in Jefferson County has declared a fine amnesty. During the month of February only, you can return overdue materials to any of Jefferson County’s 40 libraries and that library will forgive your past and present fines.

Yesterday, I turned myself in.

Alabama History Book Overdue

About a year ago, I checked-out author Ed Bridges new book titled – Alabama: The Making of a Southern State at the Southside branch in Birmingham.  I loved reading the book so much, I forgot to turn it in after a month.

And there it sat in my living room…one week overdue… then one month…six months….a year.

I would crack open the book periodically, but each time I would have flashbacks from watching that old Seinfeld episode about the New York City book detective named Bookman.

I lived in fear of returning the book.  Thanks Seinfeld.

Very Easy

The good news – the Public Libraries in Jefferson have made it easy this month for us delinquent book hoarders to turn ourselves in, wipe away the fines and renew our library card.  The librarian I met did not scold me, in fact he happily removed my fines and welcomed me back.

It was quick and painless.

More importantly, I now get to visit my beloved local library.  What a relief!

How does the Amnesty Work?

Birmingham Public Library – West End Branch. Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

So, how can you participate in the Public Libraries in Jefferson County’s Amnesty month? Below, we’ve republished the details from the system on how it works.

Take it from a book lover like me, now is the time take advantage of this special offer.

The Details from the Website

Linn-Henley Library in downtown Birmingham. Photo from Bham Now

The Public Libraries In Jefferson County Fine Amnesty- FAQ

What is overdue fine amnesty?

From February 1 – 29, 2020, The Public Libraries In Jefferson County will welcome back its overdue materials. During the month of February only, you can return overdue materials to any of our libraries and that library will forgive your past and present fines. Your record will be cleared, and you can use your library card again.

Veterans day
Birmingham Public Library Via- friendsofthebpl.org

How does it work?

  • Bring any undamaged, overdue library materials to the circulation desk at any of our libraries.
  • The library will forgive the overdue fines. Other fees may be excluded from this offer.
  • If your library card has been suspended from overdue fines, it will be reactivated, and you can begin using it again if you have less than $5 owed on your account.

Who is eligible?

All The Public Libraries In Jefferson County cardholders are eligible to have their overdue fines forgiven for items returned February 1 – 29, 2020.

Do I have to go into the library, or will my fines automatically be waived or forgiven?

You can get your library card back when you turn in overdue library books for the month of February 2020. Photo for Bham Now

You may drop off the overdue items via the library’s book drop. However, if you have an item that is no longer in our catalog we may not be able to link it to your account. To have your overdue fines waived immediately, we encourage you to stop by your local library and speak to library staff during the month of February 2020.

How do I renew my library card?

To renew your library card you may go to any public library in Jefferson County. Tell a staff member that you would like to renew your library card. You will need your photo ID. If your current address is not on your photo ID, you will need to show proof of your address. A current utility bill is the best way to show proof of your address. You may renew online or by calling any public library in Jefferson County.

Do not throw away your card.

Again – Thank you Public Libraries in Jefferson County!

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.