Joining the global “Fine Free Library” movement initiated in the United States, the municipal administration of Mayor Liza Poulin is now abolishing late fees for users of the Paul-Mercier library, the objective being to create a welcoming environment and break down barriers to attendance from the library.
“In today’s busy family lives, even the best-meaning parents sometimes forget the expiration dates of borrowed materials. Some subscribers who are experiencing financial difficulties even completely stop using the library because of the fees entered in their file,” said Liza Poulin, Mayor of the City of Blainville. Not only will late fees no longer be billed to subscribers in the future, but the sums in the user’s file will also be canceled when this measure comes into force.
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“By abolishing late fees, we are ensuring that all children and all families in our municipality have free and open access to reading material. With this action, we want to awaken citizens to a taste for reading, without punishing them,” added David Malenfant, Councilor for Services to the Population and Quality of Life.
New rules for lateness
Despite the abolition of fees, a procedure for managing lateness remains in place to promote the circulation of books and allow as many people as possible to benefit from them.
Thus, when books are borrowed, a transaction statement is given to subscribers. A courtesy notice is then sent by email, three days before the deadline. Delay notices are subsequently sent after 7 and 14 days of delay. The subscriber’s file is blocked when the first overdue notice is issued.
If the books are still not returned to the library after a month’s delay, they will be considered lost and an invoice will then be issued to cover the cost of the materials not returned.
“If we rely on the experience of other municipalities, this initiative generates positive spinoffs, including an increase in the circulation of books, an increase in the subscription rate and the rate of use of the library. And in the end, the entire population of Blainville will benefit,” concluded Mayor Liza Poulin. It is interesting to know that in Quebec, 46% of municipalities have abolished their late fees.
On the photo: David Malenfant, delegated councilor for services to the population, Liza Poulin, mayoress of Blainville, Stéphanie Lachaine, deputy director Recreation, culture, library and community life department – cultural sector