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Richmond Hill library removes fines for late returns in 2021

A growing number of Canadian libraries have gone fine-free amid pandemic
Jan. 21, 2021
Sheila Wang

Library users in Richmond Hill have one less thing to worry about this year.

The Richmond Hill Public Library Board decided to extend its fine-free policy to the end of 2021 in a bid to support the community in these challenging times, according to a press release on Jan. 14.

Community members will not be charged overdue fines for borrowed items, such as books, DVDs and video games, throughout this year.

“Our library needs to be here for our community in hard times and eliminating fines is one of the many ways we’re adapting our services for our community,” Darren Solomon, chief executive officer of the library, said in the press release.

The library board made the decision to remove fines temporarily when branches closed in March 2020, and extended the decision to the end of 2021 during the final board meeting of last year.

If items become significantly overdue, community members will still be required to pay replacement costs if they are not returned, the press release noted.

A growing number of Canadian libraries have gone fine-free amid the pandemic.

The Ottawa Public Library has been reported to close a chapter on overdue fees starting this year in an attempt to reduce barriers that could prevent children and other financially vulnerable patrons from using the library.

The pandemic has witnessed a rising demand for borrowed items at the Richmond Hill library, which currently has more than 72,000 card holders and sees one million in-person visits annually and more than two million digital visits.

Library users can place holds on items online and receive them through a pre-booked curbside pickup service at all Richmond Hill library locations during lockdown.

Statistics show the Richmond Hill library serves more than 100 customers through curbside pickup every day.

Meanwhile, the library continues to provide innovative services, including virtual programming, virtual reference desks as well as access to learning apps.

Find more information on current library services at