Vancouver Island Regional Library users no longer have to worry about overdue fines.
VIRL, in a press release this week, announced that as of Jan. 1, it has permanently removed late fees on all materials that it lends.
The library system had previously waived fines on children’s and young adults books, and in 2021, it removed all other fines as a pilot program. Now, the change has been made permanent.
“This decision from our board means more families will have access to reading and educational materials, more seniors will be able to connect with their libraries, and no one will suffer the indignity and embarrassment of punitive fines restricting their ability to read, watch, and listen to the 750,000 physical items in our collection,” said Ben Hyman, VIRL’s executive director, in the release.
Hyman thanked library staff for their “advocacy and vision” on the initiative, and the board for its support.
The release from VIRL noted that two-thirds of borrowed items are returned before the end of the 21-day loan period, and 98 per cent of materials are returned at some point. The library will issue reminders about checked-out materials and after 120 days, will charge people for the replacement cost of unreturned items.
Anyone with existing library fines has had them removed from their account as part of the new policy, VIRL noted.
According to the non-profit organization Librarianship.ca, more than 30 libraries or library systems in B.C. have removed all overdue fines. Vancouver Island University removed overdue fines in 2012.