Inside Voices – Today we’re using our Inside Voices to announce our Fine Free Pilot Project!

Psst … Pass it on!

Starting March 1, 2022, the Petawawa Library is no longer charging late fines as part of a year-long pilot project!

Why is the library eliminating fines?

Research has shown that library fines can pose a barrier to people using the library.

More and more libraries have chosen to eliminate fines to improve access, including in our county, province, in Canada and around the world! The Federation of Ontario Public Libraries has made a call to eliminate fines in our province.  Some added benefits many libraries have found include increase in membership and borrowing. Most libraries notice very little impact on return of items.

We hope to provide better access to our wonderful resources, for everyone in our community.

We also hope to provide a better customer service experience:  we can spend time helping you find resources and information, rather than spend time collecting fines.

Fines have always represented a very small percentage of our annual budget. We are excited to provide this new service model to our community!

Why is the library doing this as a pilot project?

The library board approved this year-long project to let us evaluate the impact of this new model, and ensure it does enable us to provide the best service to our community, with benefits outweighing any possible drawbacks. 

What does going fine free mean?

During the pilot, there will be no fines charged for late returns. We still would like you to return items to the library for their due date, or renew eligible items* if you want to keep them longer.

*eligible items: does not include items with holds, outdoor equipment, museum passes or park passes. Most items can be renewed twice. DVDs and Video Games may be renewed only 1 time.

All existing fines will be eliminated. Everyone starts with a clean slate!

Fees however, will still apply, including for replacement costs for lost or damaged items. We will also still charge costs for other services such as printing and photocopying.

What happens if I don’t return an item on time?

Loan periods still apply: we would still like you to bring things back for the next person to enjoy. However, we know that things can happen, and if you are a bit late returning some items we won’t be issuing a fine.

What happens if I don’t return an item for a long time?

If you keep items long past their due date (more than 6 weeks for most items, or more than 7 days for park or museum passes), the item replacement costs will be added to your account. But don’t worry: all item costs will be removed when items are returned to the library or renewed. Talk to library staff if you need assistance.

My account says it is blocked. What can I do?

Library accounts owing more than $20.00 in fees (such as for item replacement costs) will be blocked, which means that you won’t be able to borrow items, place holds, or use eResources like Libby. Talk to library staff to renew items or to manage lost or damaged item costs. You can call us at 613-687-2227. 

If you have 30 or more items overdue for any amount of time, your account will be blocked until items are returned to the library or renewed.

How can you be sure that people will return things to the library?

The majority of users return items on time. Research has demonstrated that fines don’t really work as an incentive to return items. It just means that some people are unable to use the library after accumulating fines.

If you have lost or damaged library materials however, you will still be responsible for these costs.

I thought of my fine as a donation, how can I still support the library?

We still accept donations to support library activities, and will provide a tax receipt!

Would you like to know more about libraries and the movement away from late fines?

Let us know, we are happy to share more resources!