As of January 1, 2021, OPL will no longer be charging late fees for items that are overdue or processing fees for lost items.
Why are late fees being eliminated?
- To reduce barriers for all customers
- To make access to physical and digital library resources more equitable
- There is very little evidence that late fees increase the quantity or timeliness of library returns
While other existing fees, including replacement fees for lost items, will still be in effect to ensure that Library materials are returned, the elimination of late fees provides a more equitable service to all cardholders and potential cardholders of the Ottawa Public Library.
Will this affect wait times for holds?
Wait times for holds should not increase. Eliminating late fees encourages the return of long overdue items, which increases the number of copies available for customers to borrow.
The new focus is on having Library items returned as soon as possible so others can borrow them.
There are other existing measures in place, including replacement fees for lost or damaged items, which encourage people to return their items in a timely manner.
Are any other fees being eliminated?
Yes, processing fees will no longer be charged for lost items.
Are there any new fees?
No, there are no new fees being introduced.
Which fees are still being charged as of January 1, 2021?
The following fees will remain:
- $1 restocking fee for holds that are not picked up or cancelled on time
- Replacement fee for lost or damaged items
- Replacement fee for a lost library card
- Interlibrary loan fees when applicable
- $15 referral fees for collection agency accounts
- SmartLibrary fees for monies accrued at SmartLibrary partner institutions
- Non-resident fees
- Photocopying and printing fees
There are no new fees being introduced.
Do I have to pay the late fees on my account from before January 1, 2021?
Processing fees and late fees from before January 1, 2021 will be waived.
What happens if I don’t return an item on time?
Items are considered lost:
- 21 days after the due date (regular collection items)
- 7 days after the due date (Express items).
Once an item is considered lost, a replacement fee equal to the cost of the item will be charged. If the lost item is returned, the replacement fee will be cancelled.
What happens if I return an item that is considered lost?
The replacement fee will be automatically removed upon the return of the item.
Can I provide my own replacement copy?
No, customers must pay the replacement fee for lost or damaged items. The replacement fee is based on the actual price the Library paid for the item.
When is an account suspended?
An account is suspended if it reaches $25 in fees. Customers with suspended accounts cannot borrow physical items from the Library until the fees are paid or the lost items are returned.
Can I access any OPL resources if my account is suspended?
Yes, you will still have access to services that do not accrue fees, such as computers, eBooks, and other online resources, if your library card is not expired.
What happens if I don't pay my fees?
- If you have outstanding fees totalling more than $50 for more than 90 days, your account will be referred to a recovery agency and a $15 referral fee will be added to your account.
- OPL uses a recovery agency to assist in the timely retrieval of fees and materials to ensure fair access to all customers. Replacement fees are automatically removed from collection accounts if the items are returned to the library.
- If your account has been referred to a recovery agency, your library privileges will be suspended until the account is fully paid. Please be aware that if the necessary payment or payment arrangement is not made 120 days after being sent to the recovery agency, the personal credit rating of adult cardholders will be affected.
- Please visit any Ottawa Public Library branch or call 613-580-2940 for additional information.
If I return my lost items after my account has been referred to a recovery agency, will I still have to pay the collection agency referral fee?
Yes, once an account has been referred to a recovery agency, the $15 referral fee must still be paid to recover costs to OPL, even if the lost items are returned.
Have loan periods changed?
No, loan periods have not changed.
How many times can I renew an item?
Items that previously had no renewal limits will now have a limit of five renewals. Other renewal limits remain unchanged. Please note that an item can only be renewed if there are no holds on the item.
Why are items being automatically renewed? Can I still renew my own items?
For customers’ convenience, eligible library items will be renewed automatically, when there are no holds on the items. You can also renew your items manually online prior to the due date. The automatic renewal feature cannot be turned off.
Are there any changes to non-resident fees?
No, the annual non-resident fee will remain $85 per person and $170 per family, which reflects the current average annual cost of Ottawa Public Library services to an Ottawa taxpayer.
Is the fee structure reviewed at any time?
Yes, the fee structure is reviewed each year as part of the budget process.