The Okotoks Public Library is now fine free!
We no longer charge overdue fines on items that are returned late to the Okotoks Library. Replacement charges for lost and damaged material still apply.
As of January 1, 2023 no overdue fines will be charged for material returned late to the Okotoks Library. Fees for lost or damaged material will remain. Fines may occur at other libraries as per their local borrowing policies.
We are proud to join the growing list of Canadian libraries who are going fine free. Click here for a list of fine free libraries in Canada.
Note: The above applies to Okotoks Public Library cardholders only. Local library policies apply for customers whose home membership is with another library.
Fines can be a significant expense to those with low or no income and can even cause people to stop using the library. For many patrons, the consequences of returning books late is too cost-prohibitive, even if the initial checkout is free. Fines also disproportionately affect specific groups including families, youth, seniors, marginalized individuals, newcomers to Canada, and those experiencing lower socio-economic status.
Studies have shown that there is no significant difference in overdue rates between libraries that charge fines and those that don't. Patrons will continue to receive due date reminder notifications from TRAC.
Libraries studied have reported that wait times for high demand items remained steady after the elimination of overdue fines.
Revenue generated from overdue fines accounts for only 1% of the library's operating budget and costs more in administrative effort to collect. Additionally, with the increase of digital material which do not accrue overdue fines, this revenue is anticipated to decline in the coming years.
Removing fines does not mean removing all consequences for not returning library material. Patrons who fail to return an item within a given timeframe will be charged for the replacement of the missing item.
Cook, S. (2019). Fine-free policies.
Ontario Library Association. (n.d.). Forget what you believe about library fines [PowerPoint slides].
Unrein, Sabrina. (2020). “Overdue Fines: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How Eliminating Them Can Benefit Public Libraries.” Syracuse, NY: iSchool Public Libraries Initiative at Syracuse University.