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Fine Freedom

We are pleased to announce that the St. Catharines Public Library will not charge overdue fines on materials checked out on children, teen and senior cards effective May 4th.

This incentive aligns with our strategic goals: “Be a library for all” and “transform as we evolve”. The St. Catharines Public Library is committed to reducing barriers and supporting equitable access to literacy in our community. Many libraries in North America have eliminated overdue fines, and have seen both significant increases in returned books and moderate decreases in late returns.

· Effective May 4th, 2021, items borrowed on child, teen and senior memberships will not have overdue fines charged. Lost and damaged fees will continue to apply.

· Children, teens and senior members with existing fines can call 905-688-6103 ext. 210 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and have those fines cleared.

 

Please look at our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about this new initiative.

We’re here to help. Feel free to call or email so we can help you get back to using your Library!

 

FAQ - We are going Fine Free for Children, Teens and Seniors!

We are reducing barriers to serve you better. Effective May 4th, the St. Catharines Public Library will not charge overdue fines on materials checked out on children, teen and senior cards.

What qualifies as an overdue fine?

Overdue fines – also called late fees – accumulate on any material not returned by its due date. This initiative does not apply to fees related to lost or damaged items or any administrative fees. Fees will still apply in these circumstances.

Why is SCPL removing fines for Children (0-11 years), Teen (12-17 years) and Senior (65+) borrowers?

Fines are barriers to library access. The St. Catharines Public Library is committed to reducing barriers and supporting equitable access to literacy in our community. The fine free incentive aligns with our strategic goals.

Why are Adult borrowers not included in this fine free initiative?

SCPL plans to extend fine freedom to adult members in the future. The fine free program does pose budgetary implications and therefore a staggered implementation approach has been applied.

I’m a parent. Does the program apply to children’s items checked out on my card?

No, materials must be checked out on a child, teen or senior card for fine freedom to apply.

What happens to the overdue fines that I had on my account before May 4th, 2021 – will they be waived?

Yes! SCPL will waive overdue fines on children, teen and senior memberships that have accrued before May 4th, 2021. However, customers must come in or call any SCPL branch and request to have these fines waived – it cannot be done automatically or online. Fines already paid for cannot be refunded.

I didn’t really lose items that are still on my account, can I still bring them back?

Yes! Bring back the lost items and we will remove replacement costs from your account.

What if I damage an item?

A replacement fee will be added to your account for the damaged item and the account holder will be responsible for the cost. Borrowing privileges will be suspended after accruing $10 or more in fees.

How will the Library encourage people to return overdue items?

The Library encourages customers to return books in a responsible and timely fashion so others may enjoy the shared resources of their Library. We ask that customers follow our current borrowing periods and renewal options (link), generally ranging from 7 to 21 days depending on the type of item borrowed.

Customers will continue to be responsible for reconciling any billed items on their library account by either returning the items or paying the replacement fee. Customers with a balance of $10 + or an item with a billed status on their library account cannot check out additional physical or digital materials from the library.

What about hold times? Will I have to wait forever for my item?

We regularly run reports to let us know what the most popular titles are so that we can purchase additional copies of hot items. Customers will be receiving additional and more frequent notifications about overdue items to encourage them to return materials. Plus, items with holds may not be renewed.

What does fine free mean for me?

If you have a child, teen or senior membership, overdue fines will no longer be applied to your account. You are still responsible for returning everything you borrow. Please do your best to return items on time, someone else may be waiting for them.

If you do keep items long past their due date, they will be marked as lost on your account and replacement fees will be applied. You won’t be able to borrow any physical or digital materials. We will waive the replacement fee when you return the items.

Sign up for e-notifications to stay in the loop! You’ll receive reminders notifying you when your items are almost due, overdue as well as when you have holds ready. Provide us with your email address if we do not already have it, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 905-688-6103 

At The Library

Upcoming Library Programs

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Stories n More (FULL)
 Tuesday, Oct 26th
 10:00AM - 10:30AM
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Books & Babies (FULL)
 Wednesday, Oct 27th
 09:30AM - 09:55AM
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Halloween Story Time on Zoom (FULL)
 Wednesday, Oct 27th
 06:30PM - 07:00PM
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Virtual Cocoa Club (FULL)
 Thursday, Oct 28th
 04:00PM - 04:45PM