08/20/2012 04:53 pm ET

Chicago Public Library Amnesty Program Kicks Off Monday

Roundup those overdue resource materials, Chicago: the city's public library kicked off its first amnesty program in 20 years Monday, and will waive late fees on any books and multimedia returned in the next few weeks.

Dubbed the "Once in a Blue Moon Amnesty" program because the event coincides with the Aug. 31 lunar phenomenon (and is famously even more infrequent), late fees will be waived on all overdue books, CDs, DVDs and other materials returned between Aug. 20 and Sept. 7, regardless of how long they are overdue. Patrons can also pay replacement costs for lost items without facing additional fines.

Since January 2011, more than $2 million worth of materials are overdue at Chicago's 79 public libraries, racking up an astounding $1.4 million in unpaid fines owed to the city, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. In many instances, patrons with long-overdue materials keep them rather than face steep late fees, depleting public resources in a way that hurts Chicagoans and the library system.

If you've been avoiding the library to hide from your overdue fines, this program frees you out to check out some of these:

Best Fall 2012 Books