December 18, 2017
Oxford County Library going fine free in 2018
Fines on overdue library items will be eliminated on a one-year trial basis, starting on Jaunary 1
Residents borrowing Oxford County Library materials won’t have to worry about paying fines for overdue items in the new year.
The Oxford County Library (OCL) board has approved eliminating overdue fines on regular library items for a one-year trial in 2018. The move is an effort to remove a potential barrier for individuals and families who struggle with the impact of fines or feel it is safer for them or their children not to use the library in order to avoid a fine.
Fines are a barrier not only to the borrowing of books, but also to use the library’s other services such as computers, tech help and programs. A fine-free initiative supports the County’s commitment to reducing poverty through removing barriers. Revenue from fines accounts for only five percent of total revenues on average (just over $15,000 in 2016) but has a disproportionately large negative impact on access and usage. Voluntary goodwill donations will continue to be gratefully received.
Starting January 1, rather than issuing fines for overdue materials, if there are ten or more overdue items on their account (20 for children) patrons will be required to return overdue items in order to borrow additional materials. Customers will continue to receive courtesy emails alerting them when items are due three days before the due date, and when an overdue item has been placed on hold by another patron. Financial penalties for lost or damaged items will remain in place.
Customers currently owing fines on their accounts will have their accounts cleared of fines in the new year, although they are encouraged to participate in the “Food for Fines” amnesty program in December 2017. A donation of non-perishable food to assist local food banks this month will see their account cleared of overdue fines. In 2018 OCL will continue to support local food banks by collecting donations in June and December under a newly named program that will be announced at a later date.
Lisa Miettinen, CEO Chief Librarian, Oxford County
“Oxford County Library is proud to be among the first public library systems in Ontario to put a fine free program in place. We want our libraries to be inclusive spaces, and we want to reduce barriers for individuals and families, encouraging them to visit and make the most of all the resources available to them. The vast majority of our customers are conscientious about the need to return items on time, but we recognize how easy it is to accrue overdue fines, particularly for families who borrow large quantities. We know the critical importance of reading to a child’s development, so the Library Board has taken this action to remove the punitive and discouraging interaction of fines collection.”
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About Oxford County Library
Oxford County Library is a County of Oxford service that offers free lending of books, DVDs and other materials; access to online catalogues and databases; genealogy support; children’s programming; job search resources and information about government services; and computer access. Branches are located in Brownsville, Burgessville, Embro, Harrington, Ingersoll, Innerkip, Mount Elgin, Norwich, Otterville, Plattsville, Princeton, Tavistock, Thamesford and Tillsonburg. The Library is a charitable organization that accepts online donations through Canada Helps on its website.
About Oxford County
Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario, Oxford County has a population of approximately 111,700 people across eight municipalities that are “growing stronger together” through a partnership-oriented, two-tier municipal government incorporated as the County of Oxford. Oxford County is emerging as a leader in sustainable growth through the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan and County Council’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050 and becoming a zero waste community. Situated in one of Ontario’s richest areas for farmland, agriculture forms a cornerstone of the County’s economy, which boasts 55,000 jobs in a rapidly expanding commercial and industrial sector bolstered by its location at the crossroads of Highways 401 and 403. The County offers a thriving local arts, culture and culinary community, as well as conservation parks, natural areas and more than 100 kilometres of scenic trails. The Oxford County Administration Building is located in Woodstock. Visit www.oxfordcounty.ca or follow our social media sites at www.oxfordcounty.ca/social. Oxford County’s Strategic Plan is at oxfordcounty.ca/strategicplan.
Adam Nyp | Strategic Communication & Engagement
519.539.9800, ext. 3529 | firstname.lastname@example.org