Pickering Public Library closes the chapter on late fees

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Pickering Public Library closes the chapter on late fees's Profile



The Pickering Public Library is no longer charging late fees on overdue items.

They believe this new policy will make library services more inclusive and welcoming to all residents of Pickering.

The Pickering Public Library Board, like many public libraries, temporarily suspended charging late fees in March 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This provided the library with a ‘trial run’ for permanently ending the collection of late fees.

Board Chair Sarah Jeffrey Sheehy says the feedback for not charging has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It is the number one comment we hear about the library – clients are thrilled!”

The practice of charging fees for overdue items goes back many decades.  Applying an overdue fee was long thought to be the best way to encourage clients to return their items on time.

For the average library user, the amounts charged were not steep enough to cause any financial hardship; however, for individuals living on a fixed income or with financial vulnerabilities, the charges could create barriers to accessing the library if they could not afford to pay.

Often the people who needed the library most were the ones who could not afford to pay their late fees.

The library says for those that worry that they will have to wait longer for loaned materials to become available, it appears more items were returned on time when they stopped charging fees.

The library will continue to charge replacement costs for items that are lost or damaged.

In addition to permanently ending late fees, the library has forgiven all historical fines on library accounts.

The Pickering Public Library invites the community to join in the Goodbye Late Fees! announcement at the Central Library on Saturday at 1:20 p.m. as part of their MakerFest activities.

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