Richmond Hill Public Library waives overdue fines for thousands of patrons

The Richmond Hill Public Library wants you to start the New Year with a clean slate. This is why the RHPL Board of Directors approved the removal of all overdue fines in the future, and also removed all existing overdue fines on accounts receivable, with immediate effect.

“Late payment fines were a traditional practice intended to encourage patrons to return their items to the library in a timely manner, but they also created social, psychological and financial barriers that may have caused patrons to quit completely. use the library, ”said Greg Beros, RHPL Board Chairman.

“We strive to be a fair community center for all residents, but we cannot do this when overdue fines create unwelcoming and sometimes unmanageable tension for some people in our community.”

During the pandemic-related closures, the library’s board of directors made the decision to temporarily eliminate the overdue fines from March 2020 to the end of 2021. The removal of these fines had no significant impact on how often items were borrowed and returned to branches. Fines represent less than one percent of the library’s net budget; taking into account the time required to process fines, staff found that the amount of fines collected did not result in significant financial gain for the library.

“Over the past five years, we have had over 8,500 clients with overdue unpaid fines that have not been returned to the library; this means that thousands of customers may feel dissuaded from taking advantage of our various programs, extensive collections and vital community services due to fines. “said Darren Solomon, CEO of the Richmond Hill Public Library.

“We must continue to be a space where everyone can connect, learn, grow and prosper; and by eliminating fines, we give many members of the community the ability to reconnect with the library without worrying about overdue fines. ”

During the pandemic, many libraries across North America have joined the movement to eliminate the collection of overdue fines from their daily procedures.

Fines for late documents are only one bill that can be charged to your library account. Other invoices include charges for lost or damaged material, handling charges and administrative charges.

If a customer does not renew or return an item for more than four weeks, they will be charged a cost for replacing the item. These charges will be waived once the item is returned in good condition.

Overdue fines that have already been paid to the library will be used directly to support the development of the library’s programs, services and collections. For more information, visit www.rhpl.ca/fines.

About Elaine Morales

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