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Eliminating late fees didn’t hurt library’s bottom line

It’s been a year since the Smithers Library went fine-free and the reception has been positive
The Smithers Public Library (SPL) pictured on the afternoon of Jan. 16, 2020 during snowfall. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

It has now been over a year since The Smithers Public Library eliminated its late fees.

“The reception to going fine-free has been positive,” said Library Director Wendy Wright.

And she said it didn’t make much difference in the number of people using the library. The total circulation stayed almost the same as last year.

“We made up the lost revenue through an unexpected increase in exam invigilations, for which we charge a small fee,” she added.

In total, for all formats and ages, 110,716 books and movies were borrowed. There were over 41,000 children’s books taken out and almost 7,500 eBook downloads. The public computer and Wifi sessions were used 16,552 times.

Wright added the number of B.C. public libraries charging fines has steadily decreased over the past two years. More than half are fine free for some or all of their user groups.

Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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