Oct 14, 2020
We’re Going Fine Free!
On Jan 1, 2021, we’ll be saying “good readance” to late fines … FOREVER! We’re wiping out all existing late fines, and you’ll never get a new late fine again. We’re also extending the COVID-19 fines amnesty through Dec 31, 2020.
This means late fines are officially history at Saskatoon Public Library.
We’ve adopted a fine-free model to remove barriers and to create equitable library service for everyone in our community.
Fines most negatively impact Saskatoon’s most vulnerable residents, including children, newcomers and those with fixed and low incomes. Today, there are nearly 20,000 members who have blocks on their card and are unable to borrow due to owing fines over $10 (note: we temporarily removed this restriction during the COVID-19 pandemic). Saskatoon libraries serving neighbourhoods with lower-than-average incomes and more single-parent families have significantly higher rates of blocked patrons.
We’re proud to join the growing list of over 100 North American libraries that have gone fine free in the last few years, including Calgary, Edmonton and Halifax. After going fine free, libraries have experienced an increase in circulation and in the number of active library users. They have not reported increases in theft or increased wait times due to materials not returned. Removing fines does not remove the accountability to return library materials. Due dates will remain in place, and patrons who do not return library materials will be charged replacement fees and/or have their membership suspended until items are returned. Charges will also remain in place for lost, stolen or damaged items.
In 2019, the collection of fines represented 0.44% of Saskatoon Public Library’s total revenue. We are confident in our ability to offset the revenue loss through operating efficiencies and cost savings as a result of no longer collecting fines.
Patrons who are able to pay fines and who want support the Saskatoon Public Library are invited to donate to at saskatoonlibrary.ca/donate.