From The Star:
Teens and children are borrowing fewer books and other materials from Toronto libraries, an alarming trend that started in 2012 and escalated in the first part of this year. Chief librarian Jane Pyper’s 2012 report to the library board says that, with figures adjusted to reflect last year’s 11-day strike, overall borrowing of materials, including books, ebooks and DVDs, dropped 1 per cent. Borrowing by adults dropped a half per cent, but Pyper is most concerned by steeper drops of 7.5 per cent for teens and 1.5 per cent for kids. The bad news has continued into 2013, with borrowing from teen collections plunging by a whopping 14.5 per cent over the same period last year. Borrowing from the kids’ collection dropped 9 per cent. [Clip] New registrations with the library system were also down in 2012, with the biggest drop for teens and kids — a “concerning trend.” [Clip] Pyper urges the board to direct her staff to “examine options for fines for children and teens” during 2014 budget preparations.
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Here are some statistics about fines at the Toronto Public Library. They’re shared in a TPL staff report that’s embedded (full text) below.
In 2012, TPL implemented significantly increased fines rates, lowered the thresholds for using the collection agency, and introduced a new fine for holds not picked up. The 2012 budget for fines and fees was increased by $600,000 to $3,663,374, which represented an increase of 19%. Fines revenue collected in 2012 was $3,653,199, which was $10,175 short of budget. Lost revenue associated with the labour disruption and service interruption was replaced by the introduction of a Small Balance program with the collection agency and the lowering of the threshold for the regular collection agency program that was applied retroactively and therefore resulted in significant one-time revenues. The 2013 budget for fines is $3,675,374. Preliminary data for 2013 shows that fines revenue for the first quarter is 2% below budget. Fines revenue will continue to be closely monitored as it may be impacted by the following trends:
- the due date email notification, implemented in February 2013, is expected to result in reduced fines;
- e-book circulation is the fastest growth area, and there are no fines for this borrowing activity;
- overall, circulation was down in 2012 even after adjusting for the labour disruption. Preliminary information for January and February 2013 indicates this downward trend is continuing.
Hat Tip and Thanks: @mattrweaver