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Library fines cramping your style, Callander? Relief awaits

Callander’s public library abolishing late fees November 30
20200606 callander library summer turl
Callander's public library is abolishing late fees beginning November 30 / Photo by Jeff Turl/BayToday.

Callander’s Public Library is going fine-free beginning November 30 to “provide equitable and accessible service” to all, library staff explained.

Abolishing fines for late fees is a “monumental step” to achieve that accessibility, and the library’s CEO, Melissa Sones, urges all residents to return their overdue materials.

That copy of War and Peace you’ve had for ten years and fear returning it due to a decade of late fees? Bring it back and return to the library’s good books without denting your wallet.

“The bottom line is that we really want people to return their items,” Sones said, “that is the main goal.”

Removing fees also levels the playing field for those who stop using the library due to accruing an excessive amount of overdue fees.

“For some people fines create a barrier to accessing library materials,” Sones explained, “just the idea of accruing fines is enough to prevent them from using the library.”

She noted that overdue fines “disproportionately impact children and families who can’t afford them,” and those fees might deter people from borrowing.

“The library is here for everyone” in the community, Sones emphasized.

“Implementing a fine free model is fundamentally the best approach” for the library, Sones said.

Throughout the pandemic the library has been waiving overdue fees, and staff have noticed that the number of items not being returned “has gone down significantly.”

Although the fine for overdue material is waived, patrons will continue to be charged for the replacement of lost and damaged items.

Sones notes the “pivotal role” libraries play in the community in supporting education and literacy and wants to ensure access to all “regardless of their financial situation.”

“Going fine-free will increase library access to everyone in the community,” she said, noting that “This is a huge day in the history of the Callander Public Library.”

As for those patrons who may have been avoiding the stacks due to overdue fees, “we are so excited to welcome them back to their library,” Sones said.

David Briggs

About the Author: David Briggs

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering civic and diversity issues for BayToday. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada
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