British Columbia

Vancouver Public Library to scrap overdue fines for all items

Starting this month, the Vancouver Public Library will no longer charge overdue fines on all materials, and will be eliminating outstanding late charges from borrowers' accounts.

Removing outstanding fines an effort to address the affordability crisis, VPL says

The Vancouver Public Library said they will no longer charge late fees for overdue materials. Other fees and charges, such as for lost and damaged items, will remain. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Starting this month, the Vancouver Public Library will no longer charge overdue fines on all materials, and will be eliminating outstanding late charges from borrowers' accounts.

VPL says this is to help address the city's affordability crisis. "Fines can impact anyone at any time, for many reasons. VPL is for everyone and we don't want fines to be a barrier," the library said in a June 1 statement.

Overdue fines are eliminated for all items, including print books, e-books, musical instruments and interlibrary loans. All other fees and charges will stay in place. 

VPL's statement advised no action is necessary from borrowers and outstanding late charges will be cleared on an automated basis, but they say it may take weeks to update.

Borrowers in possession of overdue items will continue to receive reminder notifications via phone or email. If an item is left outstanding for 23 days or more, the VPL cardholder will see a lost item charge on the account and will be cleared once they are returned. 

VPL said they hope removing fines will reconnect people with the library and make it more accessible for all.

"Library fines disproportionately affect those who need the library the most," said VPL. "By eliminating overdue fines, VPL will ensure that critical library services are available to everyone regardless of their socioeconomic status."

The library encourages those who wish to still pay their fines to instead make a donation to the VPL Foundation. 

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