Where the fines go

I incurred my first Prince Edward Island library fines today.

In the olden days — before May 1, 2004 — Prince Edward Island didn’t charge fines for overdue library books. You received a polite notice in the mail, or by email, telling you your book was overdue. And you brought it back.

That was then, this is now. Today I had to shell out just under $5.00 for an overdue book and an overdue VHS tape.

As much as I appreciated the novelty of PEI being fine-free, I don’t have a huge problem with paying penance for keeping materials longer than I should, especially if there’s evidence that this system generally keeps materials more available to everyone.

And I can always take comfort from the notion that the money from my fines will be used by the library for Good.

Except it isn’t. I learned today that money from library fines flows into general revenue. It goes to pay for potholes and MRI machines and wind turbines. And, I suppose, in some small, small way, to buy books. A small, small, small way.

That’s a shame.


Ken's picture
Ken on June 4, 2004 - 18:21 Permalink

I try to find the good in things, but you’ve destroyed my rationalization that the fines are at least strengthening the library system.

The next best good thing about the fines is that the material I want will be more likely available. However, it almost always was available without the fines.

In Libraries like Tignish or Souris, what does it cost to collect and handle this revenue of one or two dollars? Do they have to drive to the bank and make a night deposit of $2.25 in change? (ATM’s don’t accept change). Or do they pay postage and the cost of an envelope to mail this heavy change?

I believe the reason we had no fines here was they ammount to so little that it actually costs more to the library to process than it collects!

Pennywise Tory’s make for Pound foolish librarians.

Also, I’d like to mention that I love my library and the staff in Tyne Valley is excellent!