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Fine Free Libraries in Canada

Updated: September 21, 2021

This document lists, by province, libraries that have fully or partially eliminated fines for overdue materials.

Where available, links to reports prepared by libraries for their decision-making bodies on going fine free have been included. A selection of research reports is also included at the end of this document.

To suggest additions or updates to this page, e-mail  info@librarianship.ca

Recent additions:
September 2021
Peterborough Public Library (Ontario)
August 2021
Bibliothèque Baie-D’Urfé Library (Quebec)
July 2021
Idea Exchange (Ontario)
Bibliothèque de Marieville (Quebec)
Renfrew Public Library (Ontario)
June 2021
Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library (Ontario)
Dorval Library (Quebec)
Woodstock Public Library (Ontario)

Alberta

Calgary Public Library
(as of July 1, 2020)

  • A Fine Free Model
    Report to the Calgary Public Library Board Strategy & Community Committee (March 10, 2020)

Camrose Public Library
(as of December 2020)

Carstairs Public Library
(as of October 1, 2020)

Cold Lake Public Library
(as of September 2018)

Devon Public Library
(as of January 1, 2021)

Didsbury Municipal Library
(as of January 1, 2018)

Edmonton Public Library
(as of June 11, 2020)

Fort Saskatchewan Public Library
(as of September 14, 2020)

Grand Prairie Public Library
(as of January 1, 2021)

Jasper Municipal Library
(as of March 9, 2021)

Lac La Biche County Libraries
(includes Stuart MacPherson Public Library and Plamondon Municipal Library)

Lethbridge Public Library
(as of February 2021)

Pincher Creek & District Municipal Library
(as of March 1, 2021)

Stettler Public Library
(as of April 2019)

Strathcona County Library
(as of June 2020)

Sylvan Lake Municipal Library
(as of September 2020)

British Columbia

Burnaby Public Library
(as of July 13, 2020)

Creston Valley Public Library
(as of January 2, 2020)

Fort St. James Public Library
(as of February 16, 2021)

Fraser Valley Regional Library (Children)
(as of September 22, 2010)

Grand Forks and District Public Library
(as of January 1, 2014; as of March 2013 for children’s materials)

Greenwood Public Library
(as of January 20, 2020)

Hazelton District Public Library
(as of January 25, 2019)

Hudson’s Hope Public Library
(as of December 2020)

Invermere Public Library
(as of January 1, 2021)

Kaslo & District Public Library
(as of January 1, 2020)

Mackenzie Public Library (Children’s and Teen books)

North Vancouver City Library
(as of May 11, 2020)

North Vancouver District Public Library
(as of May 4, 2021)

Pemberton & District Public Library
(as of 2009)

Prince George Public Library
(as of January 2021)

Radium Hot Springs Public Library
(as of 2016)

Richmond Public Library
(as of February 14, 2021)

Rossland Public Library (Children)

Salmo Valley Public Library (Children, Junior, Young Adult books)

Simon Fraser University Library (General Collection)
(as of May 2018)

Smithers Public Library
(as of January 2019)

Squamish Public Library
(as of June 2020)

Surrey Libraries (Children)
(as of 2015)

Thompson-Nicola Regional Library
(as of March 11, 2021)

Thompson Rivers University Library (General Collection)
(as of February 2017)

Trinity Western University Norma Marion Alloway Library
(as of May 1, 2021)

University of British Columbia Library (General Collection)
(as of September 15, 2020)

Vancouver Island Regional Library (Children)
(as of January 1, 2019)

Vancouver Island University Library
(since 2012)

Vancouver Public Library (Children)

Whistler Public Library
(as of August 27, 2017)

Manitoba

Boissevain-Morton Library (except on videos)
(since 2010)

Winnipeg Public Library
(as of January 1, 2021)

  • Library Fines and Fees
    Report to Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks (October 19, 2020)

New Brunswick

Mount Allison University Libraries & Archives
(as of July 2020)

New Brunswick Public Library Service (Children)

Newfoundland and Labrador

Northwest Territories

Aurora College Library

Beaufort Delta Region Libraries

  • Aklavik Community Library
  • Fort McPherson Community Library
  • Inuvik Centennial Library
  • Tuktoyaktuk Community Library
  • Ulukhaktok Community Library

Dehcho Region Libraries

  • Fort Liard Community Library
  • John Tsetso Memorial Library

Sahtu Region Libraries

  • Dèlı̨ne Community Library
  • Fort Good Hope Community Library
  • Norman Wells Community Library
  • Tulita Community Library

South Slave Region Libraries

  • Fort Resolution Community Library
  • Hay River Centennial Library
  • K’atl’odeeche First Nation Library
  • Mary Kaeser Library
  • Zhahti Koe Community Library

Tlicho Region Libraries

  • Behchokǫ Community Library
  • Behchokǫ (Rae) Community Library / Elizabeth Mackenzie Community Library
  • Gamètì Community Library
  • Wha Tì Community Library

Yellowknife Public Library
(as of September 1, 2020)

Nova Scotia

Acadia University Library
(as of July 2020)

Annapolis Valley Regional Library
(as of 2020)

Atlantic School of Theology Library
(as of July 2020)

Cape Breton Regional Library
(as of 2020)

Colchester-East Hants Public Library
(as of April 28, 2020)

Cumberland Public Libraries
(as of 2020)

Dalhousie University Libraries
(as of July 2020)

Eastern Counties Regional Library
(as of December 20, 2019)

Halifax Public Libraries
(as of August 5, 2020)

NSCAD University Library
(as of July 2020)

Nova Scotia Community College Libraries
(as of July 2020)

Saint Mary’s University Patrick Power Library
(as of July 2020)

St. Francis Xavier University Libraries
(as of July 2020)

South Shore Public Libraries
(since the ’80s)

University of King’s College Library
(as of July 2020)

Université Sainte-Anne Louis R. Comeau Library
(as of July 2020)

Western Counties Regional Library
(as of June 2020; as of 2016 for children’s materials)

Nunavut

Ontario

Ajax Public Library
(as of December 1, 2020)

Aurora Public Library (Juvenile books, magazines)
(as of August 6, 2019)

Barrie Public Library
(as of July 1, 2020)

Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library
(as of June 4, 2021)

Brampton Library (Children)
(as of September 4, 2018)

Brantford Public Library
(as of March 15, 2021)

Chatham-Kent Public Library (Children)
(as of March 1, 2021)

Clarence-Rockland Public Library
(as of December 2020)

County of Brant Public Library
(as of January 1, 2020)

County of Prince Edward Library and Archives

Edwardsburgh Cardinal Public Library

Fort Erie Public Library (Children)
(as of January 2020)

Haliburton County Public Library
(as of March 2020)

Halton Hills Public Library (Children and Teens)
(as of June 15, 2019)

Hamilton Public Library (Children and Teens)

  • Fines and Fees
    Report to the Hamilton Public Library Board (June 17, 2020)

Harris Learning Library (Nipissing University and Canadore College)
(as of summer 2018)

Idea Exchange (City of Cambridge)
(as of July 5, 2021)

Innisfil ideaLAB and Library
(as of July 1, 2020)

Kawartha Lakes Public Library
(as of October 1, 2020)

Kingston Frontenac Public Library
(as of January 1, 2021)

Kitchener Public Library
(as of January 2021)

Lambton County Library (Children)

Lincoln Public Library (Children)
(as of January 2020)

London Public Library
(as of November 2020; as of September 1, 2017 for children’s materials)

Markham Public Library (Children and Teens)
(as of May 12, 2021)

Newmarket Public Library
(as of January 1, 2020)

Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library (Children)
(as of January 2020)

Oakville Public Library
(as of January 2021; as of February 2019 for children’s print materials)

Ottawa Public Library
(as of January 1, 2021)

Oxford County Library
(as of January 1, 2018)

Pelham Public Library (Children)
(as of January 2020)

Peterborough Public Library
(as of September 21, 2021)

Renfrew Public Library

Rideau Lakes Public Library
(as of September 1, 2014)

St. Catherines Public Library (Children, Teens, and Seniors)
(as of May 4, 2021)

St. Thomas Public Library
(as of December 1, 2020)

Sault Ste. Marie Public Library
(as of August 31, 2021)

  • Fines Free Report
    Report to the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library Board (March 18, 2021)

Scugog Public Library
(as of March 2020 (ad hoc); as of October 15, 2020)

Thunder Bay Public Library
(as of January 1, 2020)

Timmins Public Library
(January 1, 2021)

Toronto Public Library (Children)
(as of March 2021)

  • Fines Elimination (2021 Operating Budget Submission)
    Report to the Toronto Public Library Board (October 19, 2020)

Vaughan Public Libraries
(as of June 2020)

Welland Public Library
(as of November 19, 2020)

Woodstock Public Library
(as of June 1, 2021)

Prince Edward Island

PEI Public Library Service
(as of October 2, 2020)

Quebec

Cégep Heritage College Library
(as of September 2019)

Centre de documentation collégiale

Grande Bibliothèque (documents jeunesse)
(as of May 2021)

List of Quebec public libraries via l’Association des bibliothèques publiques du Québec

Abitibi-Témiscamingue

  • Arntfield
  • Béarn
  • Belcourt
  • Belleterre
  • Cléricy
  • Clerval
  • Fabre
  • Fugèreville
  • Guérin
  • La Reine
  • Laforce
  • Laverlochère
  • Moffet
  • Montbeillard
  • Nédélec
  • Notre-Dame-du-Nord
  • Rivière-Héva
  • St-Bruno-de-Guigues
  • Ste-Hélène-de-Mancebourg
  • St-Eugène-de-Guigues
  • Secteur des Coteaux
  • Val-Saint-Gilles
  • Ville-Marie*
  • Winneway

Bas-Saint-Laurent

Capitale-nationale

  • Baie-Saint-Paul
  • Baie-Sainte-Catherine
  • Deschambault
  • Grondines
  • Neuville
  • Pont-Rouge
  • Saint-Alban
  • Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges
  • Saint-Hilarion
  • Saint-Irénée
  • Saint-Laurent-de-l’Île-d’Orléans
  • Saint-Siméon
  • Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval

Centre-du-Québec

  • Aston-Jonction
  • Chesterville
  • Deschaillons-sur-Saint-Laurent
  • Drummondville
  • Durham-Sud
  • Fortierville
  • Ham-Nord
  • Inverness
  • Laurierville
  • Notre-Dame-de-Ham
  • Saint-Cyrille-de-Wendover
  • Saint-Ferdinand
  • Saint-Guillaume
  • Saint-Pierre-les-Becquets
  • Saint-Samuel
  • Saint-Wenceslas
  • Sainte-Brigitte-des-Saults
  • Sainte-Cécile-de-Lévrard
  • Sainte-Elizabeth-de-Warwick
  • Sainte-Françoise
  • Sainte-Hélène-de-Chester
  • Sainte-Perpétue
  • Saints-Martyrs-Canadiens
  • Tingwick

Chaudière-Appalaches

  • Armagh
  • Beaumont
  • Cap-Saint-Ignace
  • East Broughton
  • Frampton
  • Honfleur
  • L’Islet
  • L’Islet (L’Islet-sur-Mer)
  • L’Islet (St-Eugène)
  • Lac-Etchemin
  • Lotbinière
  • Montmagny
  • Notre-Dame-des-Pins
  • Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire
  • Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Cœur-d’Issoudun
  • Saint-Antoine-de-l’Isle-aux-Grues
  • Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly
  • Saint-Aubert
  • Saint-Benoît-Labre
  • Saint-Bernard
  • Saint-Camille-de-Lellis
  • Saint-Flavien
  • Saint-Frédéric
  • Saint-Jacques-de-Leeds
  • Saint-Léon-de-Standon
  • Saint-Jean-de-Brébeuf
  • Saint-Julien
  • Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague
  • Saint-Luc-de-Bellechasse*
  • Saint-Magloire
  • Saint-Michel-de-Bellechasse
  • Saint-Nazaire-de-Dorchester
  • Saint-Nérée-de-Bellechasse
  • Saint-Patrice-de-Beaurivage
  • Saint-Philémon
  • Saint-Pierre-de-Broughton
  • Saint-Pierre-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud
  • Saint-Raphaël
  • Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies
  • Saint-Séverin
  • Saint-Vallier
  • Saint-Victor
  • Sainte-Agathe-de-Lotbinière
  • Sainte-Aurélie
  • Sainte-Claire
  • Sainte-Clotilde-de-Beauce
  • Sainte-Hénédine
  • Sainte-Lucie-de-Beauregard
  • Sainte-Marguerite
  • Sainte-Praxède
  • Sainte-Rose-de-Watford
  • Sainte-Sabine
  • Scott
  • Thetford Mines

Côte-Nord

  • Aguanish
  • Baie-Comeau
  • Baie-Trinité
  • Bonne-Espérance
  • Côte-Nord-du-Golfe-Saint-Laurent
  • Fermont
  • Franquelin
  • Godbout
  • Les Bergeronnes
  • Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan
  • Longue-Rive
  • Natashquan
  • Pointe-aux-Outardes
  • Pointe-Lebel
  • Portneuf-sur-Mer
  • Rivière-au-Tonnerre
  • Tadoussac

Estrie

  • Ascot Corner
  • Ayer’s Cliff
  • Bonsecours
  • Bury
  • Chartierville
  • Cookshire-Eaton (secteur Sawyerville)
  • Cookshire-Eaton (secteur Johnville)
  • Dudswell
  • East Hereford
  • Eastman
  • Frontenac
  • Ham-Sud
  • La Patrie
  • Lambton*
  • Lennoxville
  • Lingwick
  • Milan
  • Notre-Dame-des-Bois
  • Piopolis
  • Saint-Adrien
  • Saint-Augustin-de-Woburn
  • Saint-Camille
  • Saint-Georges-de-Windsor
  • Saint-Isidore-de-Clifton
  • Saint-Romain
  • Saint-Venant-de-Paquette
  • Sainte-Cécile-de-Whitton*
  • Scotstown
  • Stanstead
  • Stornoway
  • Stukely-Sud
  • Weedon
  • Weedon
  • Weedon, secteur Saint-Gérard
  • Wotton

Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine

  • Cap-aux-Os
  • Cap-Chat
  • Cap-d’Espoir
  • Cloridorme
  • Gaspé
  • Grande-Rivière
  • Gros-Morne
  • Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • L’Anse-au-Griffon
  • L’Anse-à-Valleau
  • Matapédia
  • Mont-Saint-Pierre
  • Murdochville
  • Percé
  • Petit-Cap
  • Rivière-au-Renard
  • Saint-Majorique
  • Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé

Lanaudière

  • Charlemagne
  • Crabtree
  • L’Assomption
  • Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci*
  • Notre-Dame-des-Prairies
  • Rawdon
  • Repentigny
  • Saint-Didace
  • Saint-Liguori
  • Saint-Michel-des-Saints
  • Saint-Norbert
  • Saint-Paul
  • Sainte-Émélie-de-l’Énergie
  • Sainte-Geneviève-de-Berthier
  • Sainte-Marie-Salomé

Laurentides

  • Brébeuf
  • Ferme-Neuve
  • Grenville
  • La Minerve
  • Lac-des-Seize-Iles
  • Lac-du-Cerf
  • Lac-Supérieur
  • Mont-Laurier
  • Mont-Saint-Michel
  • Montcalm
  • Morin-Heights
  • Nominingue
  • Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci
  • Notre-Dame-du-Laus*
  • Notre-Dame-de-Pontmain
  • Saint-Jérôme
  • Saint-Placide
  • Sainte-Adèle
  • Sainte-Anne-du-Lac
  • Sainte-Lucie-des-Laurentides
  • Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson
  • Sainte-Thérèse

Laval

  • Laval

Mauricie

  • Hérouxville
  • Saint-Barnabé
  • Saint-Boniface
  • Saint-Élie-de-Caxton
  • Saint-Luc-de-Vincennes
  • Saint-Narcisse
  • Saint-Roch-de-Mékinac
  • Saint-Sévère
  • Shawinigan*

Montérégie

  • Acton Vale
  • Beauharnois
  • Boucherville
  • Candiac
  • Cowansville
  • Delson
  • La Prairie
  • Longueuil*
  • Marieville
  • Napierville
  • Saint-Anticet
  • Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville
  • Saint-Édouard
  • Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville
  • Saint-Lambert
  • Saint-Paul-D’Abbotsford
  • Saint-Polycarpe
  • Saint-Rémi
  • Sainte-Catherine
  • Sainte-Martine
  • Varennes
  • Vaudreuil-Dorion
  • Venise-en-Québec

Montréal

Nord-du-Québec

  • Aupaluk
  • Kuujjuaq
  • Oujé-Bougoumou
  • Puvirnituq
  • Salluit
  • Villebois

Outaouais

  • Aumond
  • Blue Sea
  • Bois-Franc
  • Bouchette
  • Chelsea
  • Chénéville, Lac-Simon
  • Duhamel
  • Fassett, Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours
  • Grand-Remous
  • Lac-des-Loups
  • Lac-Ste-Marie
  • L’Isle-aux-Allumettes, Sheenboro
  • Mansfield-et-Pontefract
  • Messines
  • Montcerf-Lytton
  • Montebello
  • Namur
  • Plaisance
  • Saint-Sixte
  • Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham
  • Sainte-Thérèse-de-la-Gatineau
  • Thurso, Lochaber-Partie-Ouest
  • Wakefield

Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean

  • Delisle
  • Desbiens
  • Girardville
  • Hébertville
  • Hébertville-Station
  • L’Ascension-de-Notre-Seigneur
  • Lamarche
  • Larouche
  • Mashteuiatsh
  • Petit-Saguenay
  • Rivière-Éternité
  • Saint-Charles-de-Bourget
  • Saint-Edmond-Les-Plaines
  • Sainte-Élisabeth-de-Proulx
  • Sainte-Hedwidge
  • Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc
  • Sainte-Monique
  • Sainte-Rose-du-Nord
  • Saint-Félix d’Otis
  • Saint-François-de-Sales
  • Saint-Fulgence
  • Saint-Nazaire

Saskatchewan

Regina Public Library
(as of January 1, 2021)

Saskatoon Public Library
(as of January 1, 2021)

Southeast Regional Library
(as of January 1, 2021)

Yukon


Studies and Reports

Overdue Fines: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How Eliminating Them Can Benefit Public Libraries. (2020)
Sabrina Unrein. Syracuse University, iSchool Public Libraries Initiative.

This report aims to draw all of these ideas into a comprehensive and accessible document. It hopes to spark new discussions in the community and help maintain the momentum of the fine-free movement. It addresses the arguments in favor of and against fines, any evidence that supports those arguments in the current discourse, alternatives to total fine elimination, and new data from libraries that have chosen to go fine-free. It was inspired by questioning if fines are a measurably effective tool, but evolved into a discussion about equity and if library fines align with the values driving our profession.

Additionally, this report includes new research. As previously mentioned, use of library fines has already been extensively discussed. However, there has not been much investigation into libraries that have eliminated fines, and how that change has impacted their communities. Due to the rapid increase in libraries eliminating fines, it seemed important to explore a sample of libraries that have made that change. What positive and negative effects has the library experienced in the aftermath of eliminating fines for their entire community? The survey was sent to libraries across the United States, varying in location and population. Fifteen surveys were completed, and the results can be found in this report, following the discussion of the arguments for and against fines

Fine-Free Policies. (2018; updated 2019)
Sam Cook, Library Connection, Inc. (LCI) Libraries.

Multiple LCI member libraries have expressed an interest in fine-free policies. As such, LCI has determined that it would be beneficial to collect data about these policies to aid in the decision-making process. This report examines the results of fine-free policies at libraries outside of LCI as well as relevant statistics pulled from Sierra for existing fine-free policies within LCI. The four questions explored in this report are:

1) Are daily fines required as an incentive for patrons to return materials?
2) Do fine-free policies lead to increased circulation?
3) How have libraries managed the financial ramifications of removing daily fines?
4) How would fine-free policies be implemented in Sierra?

Fine Efficacy: An Experimental Study of the Effect of Daily Fines on Borrower Return Habits. (2018)
Andrea Boehme, Bowling Green State University / Katie Mihaly, Bowling Green State University

Fines have long been seen as a method to ensure items are returned on time. Recently the need to charge patrons for not returning items has come into question. Many libraries have gone fine free to gain good will with their patrons and reallocate staff. To better determine the impact incremental fines have on patron behavior, we conducted an experimental study, charging one group fines and not charging the other. We found that there was not a statistically significant change in either fines accumulated or amount of material borrowed. The data suggests patrons keep the item for as long as they need it and return it when they are done.

Doing Fine(s)? | Fines & Fees. (2017)
Jennifer A. Dixon, Steven A. Gillis, Library Journal.

Fee and fines have traditionally been a fact of life for public libraries in America, even though a nonnegligible proportion of librarians and patrons have long considered fines at best an unpleasant hassle and at worst a serious barrier to access to resources for those unable to pay them. A number of libraries nationwide from High Plains Public Library in Colorado to Columbus, OH, to Ipswich, MA, have recently made news by eliminating charges for late returns. Others are creating fine-free cards for certain categories of patrons, such as California’s Peninsula Library System’s for kids and teens, or Toledo Lucas County Public Library’s for active duty military personnel and veterans. As many libraries continue to assess and overhaul their fine and fee structures, sponsored by Comprise Technologies, LJ surveyed a random selection of public librarians in January 2017 to learn about their libraries’ approaches to fines and fees. LJ received 454 responses.

Removing Barriers to Access: Eliminating Library Fines and Fees on Children’s Materials (2016)
Meg J Depriest. Prepared for the Colorado State Library.

The Supporting Parents in Early Literacy through Libraries (SPELL) research revealed that library fines and fees for overdue, damaged, and lost materials are barriers that prevent low-income parents and caregivers of young children from using public libraries. After reviewing the academic and professional literature regarding library fines and fees, including qualitative research, quantitative studies, and editorial pieces, as well as using finding from the two studies with parents and public libraries in Colorado, the Colorado State Library (CSL) recommends public libraries eliminate fines and fees on children’s materials. The scant research on the value and impact of library fines and fees does not indicate a clear benefit of administering these policies, and they may be costly to enforce. Library governing authorities that develop policies to remove fines and fees on juvenile material find it effective in building a positive relationship with families with young children.

Putting a sacred cow out to pasture: assessing the removal of fines and reduction of barriers at a small academic library (2014)
Kathleen Reed, Jean Blackburn, Daniel Sifton, Vancouver Island University.

At the beginning of the 2012/13 academic year, Vancouver Island University library removed most fines and made other loans changes to improve access to physical collections. One year later, the changes were assessed using circulation data and staff interviews. The removal of fines had no significant effect on borrower return rates and circulation numbers, but did win significant goodwill among users. Library staff believe the changes to be positive.

Additional Materials:

Eliminating Fines – Resources
Kieran Hixon, Colorado Virtual Library

Fine Free Research
Anchorage Public Library

Going Fine Free
Peter Bromberg