In an effort to support the social and economic recovery of Caledon residents and reduce barriers to library use, the Caledon Public Library Board has gone fines free. The suspension of overdue fines began during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and was extended through to the end of 2021 as recommended by the Library Board and the Town’s Community Recovery Team.
The continued elimination of overdue fines was confirmed by Town of Caledon Council’s approval of the Library’s 2022 budget. “A fine-free service model fosters a positive customer experience where all are welcomed and library use is encouraged, rather than one where residents are hindered from making use of beneficial community resources and services” explains Caledon Public Library’s CEO and Chief Librarian, Colleen Lipp.
While most libraries have long subscribed to the belief that overdue fines encourage patrons to return items promptly, according to Lipp “recent evidence has demonstrated that fines can actually deter patrons from returning items at all and outstanding account balances can prevent residents from accessing beneficial library services. As a result, there is a steadily growing trend within Canadian libraries to eliminate overdue fines”.
Caledon Public Library recognizes that fines provide a significant barrier to many, and eliminating them ensures that all residents are able to access the Library’s physical and virtual spaces equally. And now, more than ever, as we work to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, our community needs access to its community library.