The Callander Public Library will operate without fines from November 30th in order to provide “equal and accessible service to all,” the library staff said.
The elimination of late fee fines is a “monumental step” in achieving this accessibility, and the library’s CEO, Melissa Sones, urges all residents to return their overdue materials.
That edition of War and Peace that you have owned for a decade and fearful of returning it because of a decade of late fees? Bring it back and return to the library’s good books without damaging your wallet.
“The bottom line is we really want people to return their items,” said Sones, “that’s the main goal.”
The elimination of fees also enables those who stop using the library because of an excessive number of overdue fees.
“For some people, fines are an obstacle to accessing library materials,” explained Sones, “the very idea of imposing fines is enough to prevent them from using the library.”
She found that overdue fines “have a disproportionate impact on children and families who cannot afford them,” and those charges could discourage people from borrowing.
“The library is there for everyone” in the community, emphasized Sones.
“Implementing a good free model is basically the best approach,” said Sones.
Throughout the pandemic, the library has waived past due fees, and staff have noted that the number of unreturned media has “decreased significantly”.
Although the fine will be waived for overdue materials, users will still be charged for replacements for lost and damaged items.
Recognizing the “critical role” of libraries in the community in promoting education and literacy, Sones aims to ensure access for all “regardless of their financial situation”.
“Impunity will increase access to the library for everyone in the community,” she said, noting, “This is a great day in Callander Public Library history.”
As for those customers who may have avoided the stacks due to overdue fees, “we’re so excited to welcome them back to their library,” said Sones.