Did you know that your library is Fine Free? On November 26, 2020, London Public Library celebrated our 125th anniversary by permanently ending the practice of charging overdue fines!
We believe that each and every member of our community should be able to use the Library freely and fully, with dignity and without fear of overdue fines, regardless of their financial status. There is no better way to honour London Public Library’s past than to clear the path for thousands of Londoners to come back to their Library without the barrier of overdue fines.
What does Fine Free mean?
In the fall of 2020, outstanding overdue fines were removed from all Library accounts and the Library ended the practice of charging overdue fines when items are returned.
You still need to return your Library items as soon as you can so that others may use them. Library collections are a resource that we share as a community. It's important to be aware that if an item is more than 28 days overdue the replacement cost of the material will be charged to your Library card. However, once the item is returned then the replacement cost will be removed and no overdue fines will be charged. The Library uses the services of a Collection Agency and outstanding accounts may be referred to that Agency.
We will continue to send reminder notifications about due dates and we automatically renew your items up to 3 times if there are no holds on the item to make it easier for you to manage your Library items and account.
Find more information on our Finding & Borrowing page.
We’re here to help. Contact us so we can help you get back to using your Library!
Many libraries in Canada and the United States have gone or will be going fine free. At their core, public libraries are advocates and instruments for the removal of barriers to knowledge, learning and literacy through the services they offer. However, there is now the recognition that libraries themselves have created a long-standing barrier to library services in the form of overdue fines.
In the fall of 2020, when the London Public Library Board unanimously approved the elimination of overdue fine charges and waived all overdue fines currently owed, there were more than 10,000 members of our community that were not able to borrow or use Library resources because of fines owing on their Library accounts. When we looked closer, we saw that this disproportionately impacted our most vulnerable neighbourhoods and community members.
From a financial perspective, overdue fines were a sustainable source of additional operating revenue, but that is no longer the case, due to the growth of digital collections use and the resulting revenue potential decreases. Additionally, it is estimated that the collection of fine payments by staff is a net loss.
Libraries that have eliminated overdue fines have continued to see Library items consistently returned and have also seen an increase in borrowing. There are many people who are hesitant to visit the Library due to the fear of fines. Eliminating overdue fines helps ensure that all members of our community can access the resources, services and collections available to them at their Library.
Consider “paying it forward” by making a donation to London Public Library. Your gift, no matter how small, will help us remove barriers and increase access to valuable Library resources, programs and services.