Thompson-Nicola Regional Library is Fine Free!
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District Board has approved the removal of late fines on all library materials. We’re wiping out existing overdue fines, and you’ll never get a new late fine again. This means overdue fines are officially history at the TNRL!
Borrowing and Returns Information
Now that we no longer collect overdue fines, here’s what you need to know about borrowing items from the Library:
- Effective March 11, 2021, items borrowed from the Library will not accrue overdue fines.
- We will continue to send borrower notifications to remind people about upcoming due dates and will continue to charge replacement fees if an item is lost or damaged.
- All existing overdue fines will been forgiven, and cards blocked by overdue fines will be re-set.
- Due dates remain in place, and patrons who do not return library materials will be charged replacement fees and/or have their borrowing privileges blocked until items are returned. Charges will also remain in place for lost, stolen or damaged items.
- Items not returned after 30 days from the date they are due back, will result in a replacement fee, which can be reversed if the item is returned.
Why go fine free?
The foundation of the public library is free and equitable service to all; however library fines can create a barrier to access. Overdue fines disproportionately impact children, low income residents and other vulnerable populations. Fines create negative experiences for both our community and staff, and can discourage library use. On a typical day, approximately 10% or 5,000 of TNRL’s 50,000 active users have blocks on their card because they have accrued fines of over $10. They are unable to borrow materials or access digital services. For some patrons, these fines are a hardship and consequently they stop using the library.
We’ve adopted a fine-free model to remove barriers and to create equitable library service for everyone in our community.
We’re proud to join some 300 libraries across Canada that have already eliminated overdue fines. In BC, we have seen larger urban libraries such as Burnaby, North Vancouver City, and Richmond, along with small rural libraries including Invermere, Fort St. James, and Creston go fine free.
In 2019, the collection of fines represented 0.40% of Thompson-Nicola Regional Library’s total revenue. Fine revenues have been steadily decreasing over the past several years, due to increased use of digital collections, such as eBooks, which do not accrue fines, and convenient email reminders to return materials. Amid the pandemic, the TNRL did not charge late fees.
The loss of fines revenues will be absorbed in the library’s operating budget. We are confident in our ability to offset the revenue loss through operating efficiencies and cost savings as a result of no longer collecting fines.
- After going fine free, libraries have consistently experienced an increase in circulation and in the number of active library users.
- Fine free libraries have not reported increases in theft or increased wait times due to materials not returned.
- Removing fines does not remove the accountability to return library materials.
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