Sylvan Lake Municipal Library goes fines-free

Overdue fines at the library have been eliminated for all materials

Overdue fines at the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library are a thing of the past. As of Sept. 10 the Library Board of Trustees passed a motion to eliminate the use of overdue fines.

When the pandemic hit Alberta back in March, Parkland Regional Libraries cancelled all overdue fines for libraries in the region. Now, six months on, the Sylvan Lake branch found it was the perfect time to due away with fines all together.

Andrea Newland, library director at Sylvan Lake Municipal Library, says she wants the patrons to feel welcomed at the library, and fines sometimes make people uncomfortable.

“There are a lot of people struggling right now, and we don’t want to be another barrier for them. We know people are using the library now… and we want to make sure they are comfortable coming here,” said Newland.

She continued saying it made sense to make the elimination of overdue fines a permanent fixture. After six months of no fines, she didn’t want patrons to feel confused to suddenly implement them again.

Since removing fines due to the pandemic, the library has not seen any problems with overdue material.

For the most part, Newland says the patrons have been very respectful of returning materials in a timely fashion.

To help over the summer, the library allowed patrons to borrow materials for three or six weeks.

“Its a misnomer that the fines help people bring books back by the due date. Really it just makes people uncomfortable,” Newland said.

“We don’t want our patrons to feel punished or confined. We want people to come to the library and feel comfortable and welcomed.”

There have been a few libraries in Alberta that have moved to this model, including larger libraries in Edmonton and Calgary. Newland says some smaller libraries in the province have never had a fine system set up.

These libraries have seen an increase in patrons and donations since moving to the this model.

“Some patron may donate every couple months or give $20 after coming to a program to cover fees.”

Donations to the library are greatly appreciated and encouraged by those using the library, where they are able.

Newland says patrons to the library have been particularly generous this summer with donations to the library’s Little Free Pantry.

“[The Little Free Pantry] is something that we will still continue to promote moving forward. We have seen generous donations. We are still seing people bring in potatoes, and carrots and other items for the pantry,” she said.

All existing overdue fines have been excused by the library, except for those of lost or damaged materials.

September is also Library Card Sign-up month at the library. A family membership is $20 per year, membership for a senior household is $12.50 per year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Small force of locals team up for Sylvan Lake Underwater Cleanup

The annual cleanup was focused on getting an much garbage out of the lake as possible

Central zone active cases down to 20

Province provides update

Gord Bamford serenades Sylvan Lake at sold out concert

Gord Bamford played for a sold out crowd at a drive-in concert Sept. 19 in Sylvan Lake

Snake Lake Brewing takes home gold in the Canadian Brewing Awards

Central Alberta breweries Hawk Tail Brewery and Blindman Brewing also brought home top accolades

Central Alberta rancher-turned-writer brings life experiences into fiction

J.L. Cole explores the complexities of relationships in debut novel Silver Heights

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

RCMP say body located of man who fell in river during stop for photos in Banff

Parks Canada has said the man was from India and living in Canada on a work visa

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Lacombe beekeepers give the buzz on winterizing hives

Winterizing a honeybee hive is not a simple task, local apiarists say

Six injured, man in custody following BB gun incident in Alberta, RCMP say

Airdrie’s downtown core was told to shelter-in-place, while others nearby were asked to stay inside

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Most Read