Ottawa Public Library set to lose $300K in overdue fines
Money coming in from overdue books has been shrinking in recent years, library officials say
The Ottawa Public Library, or OPL, says it's on track to lose about $300,000 this year in overdue fines it was expecting to rake in.
The amount of money coming to the library from overdue books has been shrinking over the past several years.
Library officials say closing libraries for renovations means less books going out and fewer fines coming in. They also say more people are going online and being reminded when things are due.
OPL thought it would generate about $1.3 million in fines in 2014, but the library's mid-year update says it's looking at less than $1 million.
While the library is still expected to run a balanced budget or even a small surplus this year, OPL CEO Danielle McDonald says the lost money will have to come from other places.
"We always look at ways to try and bridge that gap," McDonald says. "Currently you might look at, perhaps, not filling certain positions or taking longer to fill them."
Renting meeting rooms might be an other option in the short term. But if the board expected the trend to continue, adjusting the budget to address the shortfalls is another option.
Coun. Jan Harder, chair of the OPL's board of directors, says that while there is less money coming in from late fees, getting materials back on time means more people can borrow them.
"I fully expect that the revenues for fines will continue to decrease, but the net benefit for the people of the City of Ottawa is very positive because of that," Harder says.
McDonald says she'll be bringing up the issue with Ottawa's new library board early next year.