Read Off Your Debt


New York City’s public library is letting kids pay overdue book fines by doing the one thing that caused the trouble in the first place.

Beginning next week kids enrolled in the summer reading program can knock one dollar of their bill for every 15 minutes they spend nose deep in a book. Jack Martin is the library’s Assistant Director. He says kids are using the library more than ever because their parents can’t afford new books or need to spend that money elsewhere.

Usually anyone who owes $15 or more in overdue fees is not allowed to borrow new items. But Martin says the library would rather have the kids read then wait for fees that may never be re-paid. And the library won’t be monitoring the mandatory reading period. Martin says there will be an honor system in place and the kids can even complete their 15 minute sessions at home.

Martin says most of their kids consider reading a pleasure not a chore. They just get embarrassed when they start racking up late charges. If only all debt could be paid so easily; imagine the relief in Washington.