CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Public Library — for now — is going to stop blocking people who owe fines for overdue books and other materials from using the library system’s computers.

WBBM Newsradio’s Craig Dellimore reports, until now, any library user who owed $1 or more in fines for overdue books or other library materials could not use any of the system’s 2,500 computers.

Library spokeswoman Ruth Lednicer said officials realized that someone who can’t afford to pay library fines probably couldn’t afford a home computer, either.

“The same person who can’t afford to pay a fine might be the person most in need of those computer services to go and, say, look for a job, or apply to go to school, or do whatever it is they need to do to improve their lives,” Lednicer said

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Library users who owe fines for overdue materials will still have to pay up to check anything out of a library, however.

At the end of the summer, officials will work to determine if the program affected fine collection.

“Because you’ve shown us that there’s an issue with not returning our physical materials on time, we’re still going to block you from checking things out until you pay the fine for the late fee for returning things, and return the things that you still have of ours,” Lednicer said. “But there’s really no danger to us in allowing you to go online and use our computers.”

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