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Waiving overdue fines on kids’ books is a plus

There will be a charge when an item is deemed ‘lost’.

Sunday, January 27, 2019 ~ SOOKE

~ by West Shore Voice News

Last week we reported that all 39 branches of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) system will no longer charge fines on overdue children’s books.

The change came into effect as of January 1, 2019. The elimination of fines (including outstanding fines) — removes what VIRL calls “a significant barrier”, to give more children access to important literacy resources. “We are helping to ensure that library services are available to some of our customers who need them most,” says VIRL’s Executive Director, Rosemary Bonanno.

Some of our readers wondered about the honour-system implicit in this, and whether some of the hard copy collection will be lost if not returned.

“This Board decision reflected a commitment to ensure all children on Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii and Bella Coola have equal and unencumbered access to reading materials,” said David Carson, Director, VIRL Corporate Communications and Strategic Initiatives, this week. “Research from other library systems has not revealed a significant increase in lost items, but we have implemented a safeguard.” There will be a charge when an item is deemed ‘lost’.

“It boils down to our priorities and how we want to invest in our communities,” says Carson. “By eliminating fines on children’s materials, we’re saying that we want to help all kids in our service area access everything their library has to offer.”

“We’re removing the stigma and embarrassment that can result from library fines, and we’re ensuring that our resources are available to some of our customers who need them the most,” he told West Shore Voice News.

“We’re saying that we value kids’ futures and development more than the small sums we can collect by charging them for late fees.”

Carson explained that fines on children’s materials don’t equate to a significant source of revenue for VIRL, especially when considered in the context of the staff time it takes to process library fines. This change does not affect fees on other library materials.
VIRL is not the first library system to take this step.

“We are part of a growing movement, provincially and nationally, to eliminate library fines,” Carson said this week.


More: Fines on Children’s Books waived by Vancouver Island Regional Library |  Vancouver Island Library Board website  |  Borrowing Tips