FREDERICK, MD, [May 26, 2021] – On Tuesday, June 1, 2021, all branches of Frederick County Public Libraries (FCPL) will reopen to the public with expanded hours. FCPL will also go fine free as of June 15, 2021, with all customer accounts given a clean slate.
“This past year has been hard on all of us, and we are ready to turn the page,” said James Kelly, Director of Frederick County Public Libraries. “With county vaccination rates on the rise, and the need for library staff at the vaccination clinics dropping, we are excited to finally reopen our doors to the public. We are also thrilled that our Board of Trustees approved our plans to stop fines for overdue items and forgive existing fines on customer accounts.”
Library customers may once again browse the shelves and use library computers, printers, and scanners. Branches will open at 30% capacity and customers are asked to limit their visits to task-based activities to ensure others have access. Per County policy, masks are required for anyone over the age of 5, and customers are asked to maintain distancing while inside the branch. Curbside services will still be offered at all branches for contactless pickup of reserved materials.
“We are excited about this second phase of our reopening plan, and we look forward to future phases when we can bring back programming and other services in our branches,” said Sheila McDuff, Assistant Director of Public Services. “We continue to collaborate with the county regarding capacity levels and safety measures.”
The fine free for all announcement follows their 2019 change, which removed all fines from children’s materials to provide improved access for the community’s youngest citizens.
“Frederick County Public Libraries’ strategic goal to simplify access spurred our decision to remove the barrier of fines for all of our community. This past year has demonstrated just how important library access is, so the time is right,” said Mick O’Leary, Board Chair of FCPL. “Fines should not deter those who stand to benefit from the library’s resources and services. Libraries across the country have embraced this change and we are proud to update our policies and join this growing movement.”
Customers will still be responsible for returning their items and if an item is lost or damaged, they will be charged a replacement cost, but no late fees will be charged to their account.
Since closing their doors in March 2020, FCPL has offered a wide variety of new digital services and resources with 1,002 of virtual programs created by library staff and partners, 6,841 digital library cards provided to the public, and 1.4 million digital titles checked out.
More information about library services and operating hours can be found at fcpl.org.