Starting in January, fines on all young adult materials at all Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) locations will be permanently removed, and the moratorium on fines for adult materials will extend for another year.
“For many in our communities, library fines can mean the difference between being able to access library materials or not,” says Ben Hyman, VIRL’s executive director. “By moving in this direction, our board of trustees is demonstrating progressive governance, and prioritizing literacy and opportunity over punitive fines. This is another step forward in our organization’s commitment to opening doors and ensuring everyone has equal access to the important services and resources we provide.”
In addition to the removal of future fines, all VIRL accounts with existing fines and processing fees are being waived.
“It’s about providing everyone with a clean slate,” says Hyman. “This decision means more access for more people across our service area.”
“With a board comprising 38 elected officials from municipalities and regional districts of varying sizes and priorities, it can sometimes be a challenge to reach consensus on important governance decisions,” says board chair Gaby Wickstrom. “But in this instance, the board quickly agreed that fines are punitive, restrictive, and counter to the philosophy and spirit of our library system. Once again, I am proud to chair such a forward-thinking board which emphasizes equity for all citizens.”
The board unanimously passed the motion to eliminate young adult fines and extend the adult fine moratorium at the Sept. 25 regular meeting of the board.
In 2019, the board voted to permanently remove fines on all children’s materials. VIRL has not charged any late fees since the onset of the pandemic.
More information is available at virl.bc.ca/get-help/borrowing-tips