Reports on the Elimination of Late Fees at Auckland Libraries and the Vancouver Public Library
Two years ago Auckland Libraries removed its fines for late returns.
Since then, more than a million items have been returned after their due date, meaning millions of dollars of potential fines going unclaimed.
But despite the loss of revenue, librarians say it has been an overwhelmingly positive change.
Auckland Library members can borrow up to 35 items at any one time. Even for the most voracious of readers, that is a big stack of books to get through.
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A year after granting amnesty to patrons who didn’t return borrowed items on time, the Vancouver Public Library reports a slight increase in the number of book-hoarding scofflaws.
Although waiving late fees represents hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in lost revenue, library officials say this story is not a tragedy, but one with a happy ending.
“The impact on our bottom line has been negligible from a financial perspective,” the VPL’s manager of marketing and communications Scott Fraser wrote in an emailed statement. The lost revenue from overdue fines represents about one per cent of the VPL’s total budget of $59 million.
“From a social benefit perspective, the impact has been very positive. We have received many positive comments from patrons who now feel more welcome to use the library and express gratitude for the fine-free service.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.