St. Thomas Public Library is now fine free! 

Beginning December 1, 2020, St. Thomas Public Library will no longer be charging late fines on overdue items!

Why is St. Thomas Public Library removing fines? We’re here to connect our community with materials, resources, and services. Fines are a deterrent to making that happen!

Studies have shown that fines do not actually stop people from returning items late, but late fines can stop people from using the library. Fines create economic barriers, and it’s important to us that everyone in our community has the same access to our materials, resources, and services.


Frequently Asked Questions

What does going fine free mean for me?

  • Overdue fines will no longer be applied to your account, and we have wiped clean any old fines from your accounts. 
  • It doesn’t mean that you don’t have to return your items! You’re still responsible for anything that you have borrowed, and we’d like you to do your best to return borrowed materials on time because other people may be waiting to use the items.  If you’re a little late, you won’t be penalized with a late fine.
  • If an item has not been returned in an appropriate amount of time, your account will be locked and you won’t be able to add holds or use digital items during that time. As soon as the items are returned, your account will go back to normal. 
  • If you haven’t returned your items after a significant amount of time, you will be sent a bill for the replacement cost of the items. But don’t worry – as soon as you return your items, the bill goes away.

Is everything fine free?

Almost. The only items that still have a late fine associated with them are Inter-Library Loans – these are books that we’ve borrowed from another library for you. We cannot guarantee that the library who lent them to us won’t charge us a late fine, so these items will still have late fines associated with them.

Does going fine free apply to current fines on my account or just fines going forward?

All fines accrued as a result of late fines have been wiped have been wiped from your account! If you had fees on your account from previous print jobs, Creators’ Corner, or replacement of items that were lost or damaged, those fees will still exist.

What about that item I borrowed five years ago?

Bring it back! We just want the item back and you won’t have any charges added to your account!

What if I lose or damage an item?

You will still be charged for replacement costs for lost or damaged items.

How do you know people will still return items if there’s no late fines?

Hundreds of libraries across North America have been going fine free over the last decade. They report that items are still returned at the same times, or even earlier, than before fine free policies were put into place.

What are your borrowing times?

You can find out all the information about borrowing times by visiting our Borrowing page. 

I always thought of my fines as a donation to the library. Can I make a donation?

Absolutely! We would appreciate any donation that you would like to give as we make this policy change to give back to our community! Information about donating can be found on our Donate page.

Are other libraries going fine free?

Yes! All over Ontario, Canada, and North America, we are seeing more and more libraries go fine free. The Federation of Ontario Public Libraries is encouraging all libraries in Ontario to go fine free and you will likely hear of more and more libraries doing this. You can find more information about that below:

I haven’t been to the library in years. Will my account still work?

Please come and see us. We will either get your account reactivated or we will get you set up with a new one. We’d love to have you back!


Still have questions? We can help! Give us a call at 519-631-6050 or email us at info@stthomaspubliclibrary.ca and someone will get back to you. If you’re comfortable doing so, you can also come see us!