UBC Library makes temporary late fine suspension permanent

Starting today, UBC Library is permanently ending overdue fines on books, journals and audio-visual materials for all users.

Currently, course reserve loans, interlibrary loans and electronics cannot be borrowed from the library due to physical branch closures. UBC Library will still apply late fines for these high-demand materials when these borrowing services resume.

University Librarian Susan Parker explained that UBC Library has been studying and planning to eliminate late fines before the closure of all library locations in March due to the pandemic. Around the same time, UBC Library temporarily suspended late fines.

“When we looked at reinstating them, we were like, ‘Well, why don’t we just go ahead and make our decision now?’” Parker said.

“[This change] is driven by our decision making around COVID-19.”

However, charges will remain for all unreturned library items the library deems lost. After an item has been overdue for 28 days, it receives lost status and a charge notice will be sent to the borrower. The charge will be dropped if the item is returned.

Additionally, the library will suspend borrowing privileges for outstanding fines or charges of $50 and over. UBC may also be able to withhold academic transcripts and registration under university policy FM1 on late payments.

“It will be easier for people to approach thinking about borrowing a library book, and not being concerned about whether the library is mad at them … We don’t want that kind of relationship,” said Parker.

“Hopefully what it will mean is that people will feel like the library understands them better.”