REGINA -- The Regina Public Library has announced it will soon no longer charge late fees for overdue books and other materials.

Starting on Jan. 1, customers won’t have to worry about overdue fines or be penalized if they miss a due date for library items, said Sean Quinlan, chair of the RPL board of directors.

“Paying late fees might not be an issue for some people, but for others it’s a significant cost,” Quinlan said in a news release. “This change will remove a barrier to ensure everyone in our community has access to library services.”

RPL has been waiving late fees since its branches closed in March. It has extended this to the end of the year.

Before this change, customers would lose access to library services if they incurred $10 or more in library fees.

However, customers could still see their membership suspended or be charged replacement fees if they don’t return materials after 30 days.

Regina public library

Quinlan said customers will still be accountable to return materials.

“We do encourage people to return their library materials on time,” he said. “There are always many people anxious to borrow materials, especially now that we’ve re-opened our branches.”

The change comes after RPL found that other libraries in North America have eliminated fees.

Customers are encouraged to donate to the library in lieu of paying fines. The donation website can be found here.

Each year over the past five years, an average of 2,080 RPL cardholders incurred enough overdue fines to limit their access to library materials.

Total revenue from overdue fees amounts to about 0.4 per cent ($100,000) of the library’s annual budget.