Devon Tatton

Devon Tatton

Fewer late fines hurts GVPL budget

GVPL budgeted for an increase on late fees collected, but that hasn’t been the case.

More and more items borrowed from the library are being returned on time.

With patrons of the Greater Victoria Public Libraries on the rise, the GVPL budgeted for an increase on late fees collected, but that hasn’t been the case.

Year to date the GVPL is down $66,000 in patrons generating late fees. It is about 13 per cent lower than what the GVPL budgeted for.

“We’ve budgeted for a little more than we’ve received,” said Lynne Jordon, GVPL deputy CEO.

While the number of library users are up, the late fines haven’t risen due to the GVPL alert system. Patron can sign up for the service that will send a courtesy reminder of a looming due date.

“There are more people borrowing materials,” said Lynne Jordon, GVPL deputy CEO. “The more reminders we send out, the more people can access the materials and that’s good for everyone.”

Even though the library hasn’t seen the late fees grow along with the patrons, Jordon said it’s good to get items returned on time

Even though fewer people are being faced with new late fees, there are plenty of people in Greater Victoria who owe the GVPL money for past offenses.  As of Oct. 31, the GVPL calculated it was owed $170,126 for unpaid fines.

Sometimes the GVPL has to enlist the help of a collections agency to deal with unreturned items or long overdue fines.

“If a patron clears up their account before the account has been with the collection agency for 120 days, it will not affect credit reporting,” Jordon said.

While adding the electronic notices has helped improve items being returned on time, the GVPL also offers the service of paying late fees online in hopes of increasing payments as well.