Vancouver Public Library will waive late return fines for anyone bringing back long-overdue items between Oct. 21 and Oct. 27.

The amnesty applies to all items that are more than six weeks overdue, whether they were checked out and not renewed, or whether they reached the maximum number of renewals.

But only items returned directly to a librarian at a circulation desk will qualify for the exemption — not those put in return bins or slots.

The week-long waiver is being branded Welcome Back Week in a bid to encourage people to come back to the library and applies to all items borrowed from the library - including books, DVDs and CDs.

E-books are not included in the amnesty, since they are automatically returned after the one- to three-week lending period and incur no late fees.

Catherine Evans,  the library's board chair, is excited to launch the one-time initiative.

"We know that some people simply stay away from the library when they have long overdue books," said Evans in a press release.

"We miss those patrons, and we’ve launched our Welcome Back Week to encourage them to come back – without worrying about fines for those items that may have built up over months or years."

Patrons returning items are asked to go in person to the circulation desk at any VPL branch.

If overdue books or library cards have been lost, VPL says borrowers can return to the library to explain the situation and staff will find a way to help them.

Last month, a former University of British Columbia professor managed to avoid a fine equivalent to $14,000 in the UK, after he returned a book 47 years overdue in Belfast.