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Fine-Free Cards for Children & Reduced Fines for Teens

Beginning September 1st, we will be providing fine-free library cards to children, 12 years and under, and clearing fines on existing cards for children so families will have a fresh start. As well, library cards for teens, 13 to 18 years, will have overdue fines reduced, and staff will work with teens to help clear existing fines on their cards.

For many families, the worry over accumulating late fees for overdue items can be a barrier to borrowing essential resources, using Library technology, or even visiting a Library. We want every child to have a library card and to be able to access the books, music, information and technology needed for discovering and learning.

Fine-free cards for children 12 years and under and reduced fines for teens are your Library’s latest commitment to working to reduce poverty by removing barriers for children and families. In its 2016 report, London for All, a Roadmap to End Poverty, the Mayor’s Poverty Task Force, identifies poverty as a significant community issue. This initiative is part of our commitment to removing barriers to access for everyone in our community, a key strategic priority identified in the User First philosophy of London Public Library’s current Strategic Plan, Library Space is Community Place.

The Details:

  • Library cards for children, 12 years and under, will not have overdue fines, and existing fines will be cleared.
  • Children’s materials borrowed using an adult card will still be subject to fines.
  • Library Cards for Teens, 13 to 18 years, will have overdue fines reduced to the rate charged for Seniors.
  • Teens can work with staff to reduce existing fines.
  • Read Away Your Fines campaigns for Teens will continue.

We encourage families to come in to any library location to obtain fine-free cards for their children and to have our staff clear existing fines on children’s cards. We also want to work with teens to help them clear existing fines on their cards.


This is not a good idea

As someone who is in a position with a low income, how are fines proving to be a barrier towards education? If someone can access the library to borrow an item, they can likely go back the same way they came to renew or return a book. 

It's called having a responsibility - parents should be teaching their children to respect due dates because not everything in life will be catered towards them once they grow up. As a teen/adult, they will have to be responsible for deadlines among many other things and although it may not make a huge difference, retracting this skill through the lack of consequence for returning books will not help in preparing them for the future. Responsibilities are a part of everyday life, even in terms of academics. 

Taking away late fees will give an incentive children, or parents to allow their children to borrow items for an unlimited amount of time, as long as they eventually return it, whenever that may be. It gives a message that children do not need to be held accountable for their actions. 

No Late Fees For Children?

In my opinion this is a very bad move.  When do we expect children to start taking responsibility for their actions?  I would like to suggest that the first time they borrow a library book that child is responsible to return it ... on time!  By taking away the fines, why bother returning the book?  If you don't pay the fine, you don't get to borrow another book.  Simple.  If the parents aren't responsible enough to teach their child this lesson, it is society's responsibility.  In this day and age it really does take a village to raise a child unfortunately.  All the library is doing is teaching the child they can "take" from society with no consequence.

On a personal note, I as a young parent learned this lesson from a very wise Grade 1 Teacher at my child's school.  The teacher overheard my child telling me that it was library day and she had forgotten her book at home.  I told my child I would go home and get it.  The teacher had overheard and said "Excuse me Mom, did "Suzy" forget her library book or you?  If "Suzy" forgot her book, "Suzy" won't get a book this week".  I was mad all the way home, but by the time I got there, I realized the teacher was right, I should let my child take the responsibily for the forgotten book, not me!  "Suzy" never forgot to return her library book on time again.  Again, this was in Grade 1 - 6 years old.  Please don't think I don't know those on social assistance, etc. can afford some fines, but those are the people that need to teach their children especially the need to return the book on time to avoid the fine.  Maybe, just maybe is their parents had taught them about responsibility this cycle of poverty would end.


No Late Fees For Children?

I diagree with you and teh short answer to your query :" his is a very bad move.  When do we expect children to start taking responsibility for their actions?"

When they hit the age of adolescence starting 13 years before that they are under the weather as studies indicate that they are inclied towards being emotional than cognitive  ( their cognitive capabilities have not matured yet) therefore,  taking reponsibility can not be instantly expected but it is a gradual process.This move will make that transformation a pleasant experience rather than a painful and frustrating experience that often comes with a high cost  and as the report findings emphasized, there were many families who stopped coming to the libraray or using the library services simply because they could not afford the heavy fines. Now, imagine what kind of future generation and youth we will end up having, by then. Just a reflection. Kudos to our public library task force team in London for this much needed change.

Fine Free Cards for Children

With these changes, we are making it our priority to ensure that all children in our community have access to the books and other resources they need to learn and be successful.  We will continue to support families in returning their borrowed items, with reminder notices and other tools and replacement charges for items that are not returned are still in effect.


have the fines in place until book returned. Once book is returned, clear the fine. No book returned may eventually have to pay or substitute.  

I would recommend this for all, adults and children.

too many active fines prevents taking another book   But once all is returned and fines awaited can borrow again  

Sometimes the fines are more than what the book would be sold for used at a sale to sell off all books



Your feedback

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.  Replacement costs for books and other materials that are not returned are still in effect.  Other barriers have been removed so that we can ensure that early learners can continue to visit their library and read and borrow books.

I don't think this is a good

I don't think this is a good idea at all. It will make both the children and parent's worry free about returning books on time. I assure you parent's would take advantage of this opportunity to take their sweet time in returning borrowed items. Strongly discourage the city in this change however do recommend less fee for those that can't afford it. With such great amounts of child tax payments coming in even for working families mean every family should afford their fees! 



Supporting early literacy

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback about the change to library cards for children. These changes were made to support early literacy in our community by removing as many barriers as possible to using the library and all its resources, including using public computers and borrowing materials from the library.  All library users, no matter the age, will still be reminded of the due dates of their materials and there are replacement charges for any materials that are not returned.

Children and youth fines

I really think this is a great idea, for a short time. If done say every three months for two weeks. That way children do learn to treat library materials responsibly. Most materials are read within 21 days but its hard to teach young children a system, put library books and video in a certain place, and return them when you are done, and get another. I have paid some huge fines, because we couldn't find the discs or smaller books when my child was younger. He has developed a routine now and we rarely misplace materials and things are returned on time.


Thank you

Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback and your own experiences as a parent borrowing library materials.

Fine-Free Cards for Children & Reduced Fines for Teens

I don't think this is a good idea. I think children and teens need to learn responsibility and this is a good way to learn it, to be responsible to return your library books on time. Parents can help them do this. This seems to be an incentive to keep books out as long as you like and return them whenever. What if there are holds on the books so that others wanting to read the book are forced to wait forever while someone has it out as long as they want? Not being able to renew a book because someone else wants to read it would help them learn to share and read and return the book in a timely manner.

Your feedback

We appreciate your feedback about the change to late charges for children and teens and will share your thoughts with our senior staff.  Reminder notices will still be used to encourage the return of late materials and replacement charges for materials that are not returned will still be in effect.

Fines for kids

Although the fines should not be excessive I think the children should still be fined for not returning material on time.  This helps them to learn to respect their books and the library itself .  Charging fines should not cause them a financial burden because the onus is on them & their parents to retun the material in the proper time frame. If they return the material then there would be no fines!


Fines for Kids

We certainly understand your perspective.  For many families in our community,  fines are a barrier to borrowing the Library's materials and to coming to visit the Library.  This change is designed to make it easier for children and youth in our community to read and to learn.  Families will still be expected to return materials and there are charges if materials are not returned.

Fine-free cards for kiddos is

Fine-free cards for kiddos is a great idea! We take home so many books each week it will be wonderful to return them without worry of fines.

Happy you'll keep borrowing lots of books!

It is great to hear that this change will help your family to borrow and read lots of books.  Thanks for your feedback.

Cost of fines - daily rates maximums not disclosed on website

Why isn't the cost of fines detailed on your web page.  

I can no longer find the cost of fines or what the maximum per item is. 



Late Charges on Website

We appreciate this feedback and later this month will be providing more detailed information about late charges on our website.

Amazing news!

Thank you for this change to children's cards! In our family the adults have a library card and the children each have their own. We often are late in returning the children's books by a few days. They often take 20 books at a time, so a few days late on each of those books adds up to several dollars. These fees would discourage us from using the library. This new policy will help families enjoy the library books at home for as long as they need!


Thank you for thinking of families and making this change!


Helping Make the Library More Accessible

We are happy to hear that Fine Free Children's Cards will have a positive impact on your family.  Thank you for sharing! We know that for many families, fines can be a barrier to borrowing the Library's materials or coming to visit the Library. and hope this makes it easier for children and youth to read and to learn.

That is not good. What

That is not good. What message would that send to the children? That it is ok to comply to due dates because there is no consequence? I can see some families abusing the system and keep books and materials for a long time (forever?). Some adults can abuse the system by using children's card to borrow their own materials. This is taking away incentives for other families to use the lib.

Providing access to books and materials for children and youth

The Library’s work on reducing financial barriers for children and teens recognizes that poverty is a significant community issue in London. Those who need us the most, such as young students and early learners, are often the ones who cannot access our resources and services and whose families do not have the means to purchase books, resources and technology. The Library has a role in helping each child in the City of London to reach their full potential by providing access to books, resources and technology.

For many families, the worry over late fees can be a barrier to accessing the Library’s resources, services and even to visiting the library and using our space.

Note that while Children's cards are fine free and for use by children, items not returned to the Library will continue to follow our regular billing process. Parents/guardians are still responsible for items not returned and will be expected to return or pay for these items.


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