FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — On Thursday, the Allen County Public Library Board of Trustees announced updates to their on mask requirements and juvenile fines policies.
The ACPL Board voted to end the mask requirement for those visiting the library.
Visitors who are not fully vaccinated are still encouraged to wear masks, but will not be required to do so.
The ACPL board also announced that mask requirements for library staff will be left up to management.
Executive Director Susan Baier said she intends to continue requiring staff to wear masks for the time being.
The ACPL board also approved the "Fresh Start Amnesty Proposal" which will allow children who have outstanding fines or fees to have access to the library's resources again.
Officials say roughly 5,200 children ages 17 and under have library cards that are blocked due to fines and fees and they tend to have the highest impact on who utilizes the library the most.
All library cardholders 17 years and younger will have outstanding fines and fees balances on their library cards forgiven on June 3, giving them a “Fresh Start” to use all of the library's resources again.
“We know that the pandemic has had a negative impact on the learning and education of our youth, and we want to be one of those community partners that helps lift our youth back up," Baier said. "And this seems like something we can do to make sure that every child has access to those opportunities to be successful in school.”
Board leaders say this initiative will not permanently change the status of these cards to fine-free.
They say the purpose of this program 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 so they can be ready for the upcoming school year.