Library system forgives fines after cyberattack
Anne Arundel County Public Library customers got a present last week as the system announced it was forgiving overdue fines incurred during the recent cyberattack on its computers.
Some 45,000 customers will have all overdue fines levied from Sept. 14 through Friday waived. The total amount of the fines has not yet been determined.
“In the midst of the computer disaster many customers were not getting notices reminding them of books overdue,” library spokeswoman Christine Feldmann said.
She said the notice malfunction was inconsistent. “But we thought the right thing to do is to forgive all the fines during the period.”
“We are happy to offer this gesture of goodwill to our customers who patiently stood by us during our recent cyber attack,” said library CEO Hampton “Skip” Auld.
The library fell victim to the Emotet virus and was forced to shut down public computers on Oct. 4.
Some $20,000 in fines already paid will also be forgiven, library officials said in a press release Friday. Those who paid fines can visit or call their local branch for a credit to their account. A list of branches and their phone numbers can be found at
While dealing with the problem, libraries remained open to provide educational programs, offer books, CDs and DVDs for check out, and provide the buildings for community gatherings.
Auld praised library staff for their efforts during the incident.
“Using their creativity and persistence, these hardworking library professionals adeptly served our customers, because we know how much residents depend on us for information, education and inspiration,” he said.
Library officials said the action does not apply to fines for lost or damaged materials or charges dating before the cyberattack.