City Libraries Wipe Away 200k$ of Late Fees

City Libraries Wipe Away 200k$ of Late Fees

2014-08-31 Library

Quebec City (Quebec) August 31, 2014 – In an effort to bring back embarrassed or disenfranchised users, Québec’s libraries have announced a plan to wipe away some 200 000$ in outstanding late fees and reintegrate over 50 000 citizens banned from public libraries for outstanding late fees.

Many users who borrow books may lose them, damage them, or even simply forget about them.  Library officials know that it’s more often embarrassment – not financial concerns – that keep users from explaining the situation to their librarians, resulting in users simply avoiding libraries while the late fees pile on. This obviously helps no one, as libraries never do get their books back while users are deprived of this public service.

This is why the city’s libraries have announced the plan to wipe away existing fees, in the hopes that many users – and maybe even some books – ultimately do return to their local libraries. The library network has also made it clear this sort of campaign is a rare occurrence in order to deter abuse of good faith. The last such campaign was held in 2001.

Current estimates at the value of unreturned books sits at approximately 385 000$.

The campaign particularly aims to bring back minors, who represent over 10% of the overall number of banned users. The loss of these young users is particularly troubling to libraries, as the average outstanding debt for those under 18 is of only 6.22$ – being banned for such a trivial amount is neither in the interest of the young person interested in reading or of the library system always happy to have young readers.

Life in Québec staff writer

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