Library late fines may be eliminated, says province's acting executive director
Over $100,000 collected as a result of overdue library material in 2019
Worry over whether you're going to pay a fine for not returning that book on time to the library may be a thing a past.
A proposal to permanently eliminate late fees at New Brunswick public libraries is being considered, says Ella Nason, the acting executive director at the New Brunswick Public Library Service.
The idea is at the discussion stage and is being thought about now because all late fees have been suspended during the COVD-19 pandemic.
Nason said that when late fees were eliminated for juvenile library cardholders in 2015 it had a positive impact.
"We've seen an increase in juvenile library card numbers, and we've also seen an increase in circulation of juvenile material."
That information and an analysis of what was not being returned — the 'lost' rate — were provided to those making the decision.
"We don't actually see a significant difference between material checked out to juvenile cards and those checked out to adult cards," Nason said. "It doesn't seem to have an impact on that."
In 2019, over $100,000 was collected from overdue fines at libraries across the province, but because of COVID nothing has been collected so far this fiscal year. The late fee is 15 cents per day up to a maximum amount of $3.
"It certainly will affect our budgets and planning and, we're working on a way to deal with that."
Despite the pandemic, Nason said library services across the province were able to offer summer reading clubs online and storytimes.
"We've put quite a bit of work into improving collections on our e-book data book collections."
New Brunswick was the first province to reopen all public libraries when restrictions were eased after the shutdown caused by the pandemic.
Nason said library users are now able to access the public computers as well.
"We're working quite hard to bring library services back in public libraries physically and to continue to add improvements virtually as well."
With files from Information Morning Moncton