Winnipeg councillor calls for elimination of overdue fines at city libraries

If you have overdue library books, you might be in luck.

A Winnipeg councillor has put forward a motion to the city’s standing policy committee on protection, community services and parks, suggesting the elimination of late fees and saying moving to a fine-free model would put Winnipeg’s libraries more in line with other cities across North America.

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Coun. Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry), in her motion, said library fees can be a barrier to access that primarily affects young people and low-income households, especially with children.

The motion calls for the Winnipeg Public Service to waive overdue balances to Dec. 31 and to refer permanent elimination of fines to the 2021 budget process.

The motion will be discussed at the committee meeting Monday.

Saskatoon and Halifax are among the Canadian cities that have eliminated late fines at libraries.

“We understand that lifelong library usage results in better health outcomes, so if we can remove fines and somebody can stay better connected socially, can have better mental health, can be more literate, can be more employable, that’s good for all of us,” the chief librarian and CEO of Halifax Public Libraries, Åsa Kachan, said when the library announced the move in August.

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