The program works on several levels. For one, it allows children from less affluent backgrounds the opportunity to erase late fee charges, something library administrators felt was keeping some young readers out of the library.
A library debt of ten dollars or more results in suspended borrowing privileges. In an LA Times article in 2017, not long after Read Away went into effect, “the county library system has cleared 3,500 blocked accounts, said Darcy Hastings, the county’s assistant library administrator for youth services.”
The end result, of course, is more people reading, an increasing challenge for librarians in the era of smart phones and streaming entertainment.