City Desk

District refugees often claim that they flee the city in search of higher-achieving schools, more efficient services, and lower taxes. Now, at least, they won’t be able to point to excessive library fees: This spring, the D.C. public library system will reduce overdue penalties for audio books and educational videos by a whopping $.50 and $2 per day, respectively. D.C. Public Library Change Agent for Internal Affairs Rose Dawson—who possibly has the coolest job title of any D.C. government bureaucrat—credits the reduction in penalties to ornery bibliophiles who pointed out that overdue fines in the District far surpassed those in neighboring counties of Maryland and Virginia. But, although daily rates will be lowered, Dawson notes, maximum fines—the most the library charges a patron for an overdue or lost item—will remain the same: $6 for audio books and the replacement cost for educational videos. Dawson believes that the fee reduction will have little budget impact. “I think this new system is a little kinder,” Dawson says. “You get a few more days out of this deal.”

—Felix Gillette