Halton Hills Public Library has announced that all library members up to the age of 24 can now borrow library materials without being charged fines for overdue items.
The decision was recently approved by the Library Board and is an expansion of the existing fine-free policy for infants, children, and teens, the library said in a news release.
For young adults aged 18 to 24, the announcement can offer a fresh start, the library said.
Fines will not be charged for any items they check out, effective immediately. In addition, if they have accumulated any fines over the last five years or if they have any items currently overdue, these charges will also be removed from their library accounts, the library said.
Replacement charges for lost items still apply to all age groups, the library noted.
"Late fees for overdue items can be a barrier to borrowing essential resources, using library technology, or even visiting the library, particularly for people 18 to 24 who may be starting careers or post-secondary education," the library notes.
Fines can often affect people in the community unevenly, having a larger effect on people with lower incomes, according to the library.
Allowing those aged 18 to 24 to borrow library materials without the risk of fines encourages them to use the library more frequently and makes these visits less stressful, says the library, especially when dealing with difficult class schedules, living away from home, managing new job responsibilities, and coping with other stressors of life.
“It is not easy starting out after high school and we hope that by extending our fines-free policy to people aged 18 to 24 we will help them as they discover new careers, and educational opportunities, sometimes away from home and without easy access to return items to the library on time,” says Beverley King, acting chief librarian and CEO.
“Halton Hills Public Library recognizes the importance of minimizing barriers and helping our community make use of and enjoy all that the library has to offer.”
This new fines-free initiative supports the library’s 2023-27 Strategic Plan that offers residents welcoming and inclusive spaces, community connections, and strives to enrich the lives of everyone in the community.
The library will continue to email reminders to patrons three days before books are due. In addition, several reminders are sent out when an item is overdue. The library noted that it's the patron’s responsibility to check their email address (including spam/junk folders) for notices from the library.
For additional information about the library's fine-free initiatives, visit www.hhpl.ca/librarycards, or call/visit either branch to speak to a librarian.