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Toronto Public Library eliminates late fees for everyone

Toronto, College Street, Toronto Public Library . (Photo by: Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images).
Toronto, College Street, Toronto Public Library . (Photo by: Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images). Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Toronto Public Library has announced it’s eliminating late fines for everyone.

In a press release Thursday, Toronto Public Library (TPL) said getting rid of late fees removes a “barrier to access,” and makes the library “more welcoming to all Torontonians.”

“Fines can be a significant expense for those from low-income areas,” the library said in a release.

“When customers have fines, they are less likely to use the library and take advantage of the wide variety of materials and services, including free wifi, quiet study and workspace, programs for all ages and opportunities for civic engagement and participation.”

Last year, TPL eliminated children’s fines.

Read more: Toronto Public Library eliminates late fees for children’s books

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The library said the fines were originally introduced to “encourage customers to return materials on time.”

“But increasingly have been found by libraries across North America to be ineffective in encouraging the return of library materials as intended, and are actually a barrier to the use of all library services,” the release said.

TPL said “multiple studies” show that there is “no evidence” that late fines are an incentive to return materials on time.

“In fact, libraries who have eliminated late fines report the opposite,” the release said.

TPL said, though that customers will still be responsible for returning materials, adding that those who don’t will still need to pay the replacement cost for any materials that are lost, damaged or are not returned.

According to the release, TPL has not charged late fees since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The library said it will continue not to charge fees and will “permanently transition to a fine-free model” on June 1.

“Under this model, TPL will implement strategies to encourage the return of library materials, such as increased due date notices and shortening the timeframe for when an item is considered lost,” the release said.

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