Manitoba

No more late fees at Winnipeg Public Library starting Friday

Meanwhile, people whose library accounts already have late fees attached to them will have those fines cleared.

People who have already racked up fines will have them cleared, library says

In this file photo, people browse at the Transcona Library in Winnipeg — one of 20 of the city's public libraries, which will no longer charge overdue fines starting in 2021. (Daniel Gagne/CBC)

Public libraries in Winnipeg will no longer charge fines for overdue items starting Friday.

Meanwhile, people whose library accounts already have late fees attached to them will have those fines cleared, the Winnipeg Public Library said in a post on its website dated Tuesday.

Borrowing fees for adult DVDs and Blue-rays will also be axed and existing fees will be cleared from people's accounts, the post said.

But items that are never returned to the library, or those returned damaged, will still have the replacement cost charged to the person's account, and those fees will stay on people's accounts even after Jan. 1, it said.

Overdue fines create a barrier for people who can benefit from the library's services the most, create negative experiences for patrons and staff and discourage library use, the post said.

"Now everyone can access and enjoy the services we offer without worrying about financial penalties if items are returned a few days late," the post said.

Cities across the country, including Ottawa, London and all of Prince Edward Island, have already made the shift to get rid of late fees at their public libraries.

Public libraries in Regina and Saskatoon announced in October they were getting rid of overdue fines in the new year.

Libraries across North America that have eliminated overdue fines have seen significant increases in returned books and moderate decreases in late returns, the post from the Winnipeg Public Library said.

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