HURON COUNTY – Overdue fines on library materials will be a thing of the past come Jan. 1, 2022.
The Huron County Library announced on Nov. 15 that beginning Jan. 1, the library will no longer charge fines on overdue materials.
While the collection of overdue fines has been temporarily halted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Huron County Library Board voted unanimously to permanently end this practice. The board believes this further removes barriers for Huron County residents accessing library services.
“During the pandemic, existing inequities in Huron became even more evident. Through these challenging times, access to library resources have increasingly become a priority as a way to engage and support the physical and mental well-being in local communities,” states a news release from the library. “The Huron County Library values inclusive and equitable access to information for all, and eliminating fines will help close to 1,000 patrons regain access to library services.”
Beth Rumble, director of cultural services and county librarian, said in the release there is growing evidence from libraries across the country and beyond that the revenue generated from collecting overdue fines is not worth the barrier it creates to accessing library resources.
Evidence from other library systems has also shown little difference when items are returned after removing overdue fines.
“Library users want to continue to use the library and we look forward to welcoming back our patrons to our branches,” said Rumble.
“Huron County’s libraries play an important role in supporting education and literacy in our communities,” added Huron County Library Board Chair, Jim Dietrich. “Going fine-free will support those in our communities who need it the most.”
All outstanding overdue fines will be forgiven effective Jan. 1, 2022.
Fees will, however, continue to be charged for lost or damaged materials.
For those ready to reintroduce themselves to the library, visit any one of the 12 branches located throughout Huron County or visit the library online at www.HuronCounty.ca/library.