The East Gwillimbury Library has permanently ended late fees!
After temporarily ending late fees for overdue items with our COVID responses in 2020, the East Gwillimbury Public Library Board, with the support of municipal Council, has made this policy permanent.
What does this mean?
No fees for your overdue books. If you return an item a few days late, no charges will be added to your account. However, the Library will continue to charge fees for damaged or lost items to ensure items are eventually returned.
Why remove late fines?
Late fines are being ended in more and more libraries, with New York Public Library being the most recent high profile example, but even neighbouring municipalities like Vaughan ending the practice. Late fees disproportionately affect some visitors more than others, and often will be seen as a barrier to using the library. Whether you are a shift worker who sleeps during our open hours, or a young family with voracious readers, we want you to feel comfortable borrowing books from your library because you belong here.
Don’t late fees bring in revenue?
Late fees are a small source of revenue for a library, but most of our funding comes from the Town of East Gwillimbury. However, to get this revenue, library staff are required to spend a lot of time, effort and resources, which often lead to people not wanting to use library services. The Ontario Library Association estimates that in order to get a $5 late fee from a single customer, a library will often spend $5.95 in staff time, postage, interac fees and paper. On top of this, no one likes collecting late fees, and those negative experiences can often keep people from using the library, and wear down our wonderful library staff.
So instead of all the work to collect a few late fees, we’re going to spend that time providing you the best possible customer service.
What will make people bring back books?
Automatic overdue notices will still be sent to those with emails attached to our system, and if someone has enough items overdue they will no longer be able to place holds, or check out any further items until they talk to a library staff member. If an item is believed lost, the cost to replace the item will eventually be added to your account as well. However, by removing overdue fees, this means that if you find a book that went missing under your couch for a few months, you can bring it back and all fees will be wiped, no questions asked. Many libraries have found that by removing overdue fees, more long overdue items were returned because their borrower knew that there would no longer be an awkward conversation about late fees.
Full Press Release
The East Gwillimbury Public Library Board is pleased to announce that the EGPL is permanently removing fines for overdue materials. The Library Board, with support of municipal Council, temporarily suspended fines for overdue items in 2020 as part of our COVID-19 response. Over the past two years, EGPL identified that the impact of eliminating fines creates a more inclusive library system. While the library will continue to collect fees for lost or damaged materials, time spent on processing fines will be reduced, allowing staff to spend time building a stronger community.
“We are immensely proud to close the book on overdue fines and start a new library story in 2022 – one that encourages use without penalties. We want our community to see the library as a place of inspiration, not as a place where they might face a barrier,” said Library Board Chair, Diana Robichaud. “Positive customer experiences lead to lifelong library use and opens the door to increased use by teachers, students, and childcare providers.”
The East Gwillimbury Public Library Board extends thanks to Mayor Virginia Hackson and Members of Council for supporting EGPL’s recommendation to close the book on overdue fines. We look forward to the next chapter of library services in East Gwillimbury.
East Gwillimbury Public Library is the community’s destination for inspiring learning, discovery, and connections.