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No more fines on physical items from Vancouver Island Regional Library

You’ll be able to check out materials from the library without having to worry about the late fee.

After previously waiving fees for young adult and children’s items, adult items can now be checked out with no fee.

“This decision from our Board means more families will have access to reading and educational materials, more seniors will be able to connect with their libraries, and no one will suffer the indignity and embarrassment of punitive fines restricting their ability to read, watch, and listen to the 750,000 physical items in our collection,” said VIRL’s executive director, Ben Hyman.

Previously, late fees on young adult and adult materials were suspended in response to COVID-related restrictions. In September 2021, VIRL’s board approved the permanent removal of young adult fines, and put a one-year moratorium on adult fines.

In September 2022, the board approved a permanent removal of adult fines, starting this year.

“I would like to thank staff for their advocacy and vision to make our system fine free, and our Board for supporting this values-aligned outcome,” said Hyman.

Anyone with existing fines has also had them removed from their account as part of this change.

VIRL says due dates and late returns are not an issue with digital materials, which now constitute one-third of the items borrowed by local residents.  

Around 150,000 items are checked out across VIRL’s system at any one time, and VIRL says according to their data, around 66 per cent of those items will be returned before the 21-day loan period is up, with 98 per cent returned after 120 days.

VIRL says several reminders are sent in the lead-up to and after the due date. After 120 days, the library will charge the replacement cost to recoup the cost of the item.  

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