(File Photo)

The Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) has some good news for the city’s procrastinators and scatterbrains.

Overdue fines will officially be a thing of the past at VIRL branches in 2023.

In a media release,  VIRL says it has permanently removed late fees on all adult materials, after previously waiving fines on young adult and children’s items.

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“This decision from our Board means more families will have access to reading and educational materials, more seniors will be able to connect with their libraries, and no one will suffer the indignity and embarrassment of punitive fines restricting their ability to read, watch, and listen to the 750,000 physical items in our collection,” said Ben Hyman, VIRL’s Executive Director.

“I would like to thank staff for their advocacy and vision to make our system fine free, and our Board for supporting this values-aligned outcome.”

Late fees on young adult and adult materials were suspended in response to COVID-related restrictions during the pandemic.

At a September 25th, 2021 VIRL board members approved the permanent removal of young adult fines and a one-year moratorium on adult fines.

Read more: These were Vancouver Island’s most popular library books of 2022

Then back in September, the board agreed to permanently remove fines on all adult materials, starting in 2023.

On average there are approximately 150,000 physical items checked out across VIRL’s system at any one time.

Data collected by VIRL indicates that two thirds of those items will be returned before the 21-day loan period is up, and 98% will be returned before 120 days.

To help encourage borrowers to return their items on time, several reminders are sent in the lead up to and after the due date.  After 120 days, VIRL will charge the replacement cost to recoup the cost of the item.

Anyone with existing fines has also had them removed from their account as part of this change. In 2019, the Board permanently removed late fees on all children’s materials.

Just the other day, VIRL released its top checked out books of 2022 so if you aren’t sure on what to read next, click here to see some of the most popular books for the year.

VIRL manages multiple branches across Vancouver Island.

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