County eliminates late fees at library branches

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Starting Jan. 1, library branches across Wellington County will no longer charge late fees.

“Permanently removing overdue fines supports lifelong learning by ensuring library resources remain accessible to everyone in Wellington County,” county councillor Mary Lloyd, chair of the library board, stated in a Nov. 25 press release.

Earlier this month, the board voted unanimously to permanently end late fees, which county officials say “further [removes] barriers for Wellington County residents accessing library services.”

Recent users of local libraries won’t notice a change, as the branches have not been charging for overdue materials this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

County officials say permanently removing late fees “is in line with the latest research which demonstrates that fines do not encourage the timely return of material, they in fact do the opposite.”

Chief librarian Rebecca Hine said the move “will encourage more people in our communities to use the library and access all the resources we have to offer.”

Outstanding overdue fines will be forgiven effective Jan. 1, but county libraries will continue to charge fees for lost or damaged materials.