SDG Library Goes ‘Fine-Free’ on Children’s Materials and Introduces ‘Auto-Renewals’
For Immediate Release
On March 1, 2022, the SDG Library joined other libraries across the province in eliminating fines for all of its children’s materials. Reasons for eliminating fines – especially for children’s materials – range from supporting families and encouraging early literacy and learning, to removing barriers to service and increasing equitable access to literacy in the community.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many public libraries in Ontario suspended collecting overdue fines, mainly because they were closed for lengthy periods of time, which prevented library members from responsibly using their resources and services. As libraries have re-opened, collecting fines again has sometimes surprised patrons who had forgotten about this aspect of membership privileges. Moving towards a “fine-free” model is helping to address this, although it is not the main reason for doing so. Libraries also have pointed out that, as circulation of digital materials – eBooks, eAudiobooks, digital magazines and newspapers, and video streaming – grows, fines will continue to decline, as these collections automatically “return” to their host library on their due dates.
“Although the SDG Library is eliminating overdue fines for children’s items, borrowers are still encouraged to return them on time whenever possible. We have shortened our billing schedule for overdue items, and item replacement and processing fees will apply to items that are not returned with a certain timeline, or those that are returned damaged. Fine have also resumed on all other SDG Library collections,” stated Margaret MacDonald, SDG Library Board Chair.
“Based on the results of this initiative, the SDG Library may consider expanding its fine-free strategy across more of our collections. We hope that taking this progressive first step will encourage early literacy development,” MacDonald continued.
In conjunction with eliminating fines, the SDG Library has also improved service to our patrons by introducing the process of “automatic renewals” of all borrowed materials that have not been requested by other users. Doing so aligns the circulation of printed materials more closely with that of our digital collections.