Toronto Public Library is starting to permanently eliminate late fees
The Toronto Public Library (TPL) has announced that it will be eliminating late fees in a move to improve access to libraries and promote literacy across the city.
As it stands, young readers will be the first to benefit from the new rules with overdue fees being removed from all children's materials taken out on children's library cards. The plan is to next phase out overdue fines for teens and adults with a 2022 budget enhancement request to the city.
According to TPL, late fines have a disproportionate impact on racialized and low-income communities in the city with children from those areas five times more likely to have blocked library cards due to overdue fines. Phasing out these fees is being done to remove barriers and connect people to the resources they need.
The Toronto Public Library is planning to begin active fundraising to turn the hopes of eliminating all late fines a reality. An estimated $1.4 million is the expected cost of extending this initiative to teens and adults. Support from donors will help aid TPL's request to eliminate these fines as part of the operating budget submission to the city.
Toronto isn't the first city to have its library make a movement towards eliminating late fees, as it will join hundreds of North American library systems and nine in the GTA alone that have already done so.
"We know fines are a barrier to the use of all library services," said Sue Graham-Nutter, Chair of the Toronto Public Library Board via a press release. "TPL’s mandate is to be free and equitable, so removing this barrier is in keeping with the library’s purpose."
During the pandemic, TPL hasn't been charging fines on any materials taken out and will now be looking to make this change permanent. However, library users should still expect the occasional cost if they are careless with borrowed material as fines for lost, damaged, or not returned products will still be enforced.
For those with current overdue fines, you'll be happy to learn that all outstanding fees are being forgiven as the initiative takes hold starting with removing fines on children's cards when branches reopen.
While you may not have finished writing your own brilliant novel during quarantine, it will at least soon be easier to find inspiration from the Toronto Public Library's extensive catalogue.
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