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Library eases fines to stop spooking borrowers

If you’ve ever shelled out a few toonies for a late library DVD, the library has some good news for you.

If you’ve ever shelled out a few toonies for a late library DVD, the library has some good news for you.

Starting March 30, it’s cutting fines for late DVDs in half, to a loonie per day. You’ll also be able to borrow DVDs for a week, instead of three days.

Also, any items you borrow from the library will either be for one week or three weeks.

Francisca Goldsmith, director of branch services for Halifax Public Libraries, said library staff was having a hard time explaining the difference between three-day DVD loans, seven-day Rapid Read loans, and the standard 21-day loan.

People usually visit the library weekly, Goldsmith said. If an item is due in three days instead of seven, many people can’t get it back in time.

“It’s a problem in libraries throughout North America. People get scared if they owe money, particularly young people,” Goldsmith said.

She said some children with late items weren’t coming back to the library at all.

“If you’re 12, you’ve got three DVDs and they’re two days overdue, you’ll get nervous. We were losing inordinate numbers of young borrowers.”

Some other fines are going up. High-demand items — anything with more than five holds on it — will start accruing $1 daily fines, instead of $0.25, at the end of March. But Rapid Reads — popular bestsellers the library puts out on a special display for anyone lucky enough to pop in when the book is there — will see their fines drop to $1.

Goldsmith expects the library will collect its usual $635,000 in fines and fees this year, despite the changes. It loaned four million items in 2008.

 
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