HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) — Washington County libraries is joining the Multnomah County Library system in eliminating overdue fines.

The change will take effect on Jan. 26, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Officials said in a news release that about 12,000 library patrons who have had their accounts suspended because of overdue fines will also gain back their access to those accounts.

“Libraries are for everyone,” Lisa Tattersall, manager of Washington County Cooperative Library Services, said in the release. “This is a landmark step in our mission to eliminate patrons’ barriers wherever we can – and this will remove the barrier for thousands of them. We want our patrons back.”

Data shows library fines are most likely to limit access to communities of color and people with lower incomes and do not improve return rates. Libraries around the country have eliminated fines to improve library access.

The new policy was approved by the Washington County Board of Commissioners in December.