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Moose Jaw Public Library is now fines free!

What is “Fines Free”?

In a Fine Free Library service model, overdue or ‘late’ fines are no longer charged.  Overdue notices are still issued when an item is overdue encouraging people to renew or return their item, however, charges for late items are not applied to accounts.

Why Fines Free?

The Fine Free Service Model was the result of research done by several American libraries with the aim of finding new ways to reduce barriers to library service. Overdue fines were identified as a significant barrier that, upon further research, held little of the benefits previously thought. 

In April 2021, the MJPL Board voted to go Fine Free, which includes waiving all existing late charges on patron accounts. This ‘Big Waive’ occurred on June 17, 2021.

Are there any other libraries who have gone fines free?

Over 270 public libraries across North America have either eliminated or reduced late fees for library materials.


In Saskatchewan: Saskatoon Public Library, Regina Public Library, Southeast Regional Library & Wheatland Regional Library have all publicly confirmed they are fines free. Other systems in our province are also considering adopting this service model.


In Canada: Calgary Public Library, Edmonton Public Library and Winnipeg Public Library have all gone fines free in the last year.


Will people still return their books on time? 

Most likely, YES! Research has shown that overdue fines are actually not very good at motivating people to return their library books. After fines are eliminated, most libraries discover that the people who returned their library books on time with fines, still return them on time when fines are removed!


How do I know when it’s time to return my books?

You will continue to receive a reminder notice before items go overdue, as well as overdue notifications as follows:

  • 1st Overdue notice: 3 days overdue

  • 2nd Overdue notice: 17 days overdue

  • Lost notice: 31 days overdue


What if I still want to pay my fines?

You are encouraged to make a donation to the Friends of the Library, or to the Moose Jaw Public Library, instead. This money directly helps the library in a variety of ways, from programming to purchasing materials. You can make a donation in person, or by mailing a cheque.


What about Lost or Damaged Items?

Lost and damaged replacement costs are not included in the fines free service model. If you have lost or damaged an item, then the replacement charge will be applied to your account. Please speak to a staff member if you have any questions about this.

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