Photo by Mariah Wilson
Since July 1, the Calgary Public Library has started a new fine-free model to provide barrier-free access to all of its 53,000 users. During this unprecedented time, it has become apparent how important it is for everyone to have access to learning materials, books, and educational opportunities at no cost.
In an interview with The Chronicle Herald, chief executive officer Mark Asberg said, "We know for a fact that one of the things that keeps people from using the library is the fact they may incur fines. We don’t want there to be barriers to library usage."
Asberg also mentioned that the group that will benefit most from the fine-free model is children. Before this, many school-age learners would not take out materials from the library due to the worry of being unable to return them on time and incurring a fee. Now, younger users will be able to have access to more resources to help them succeed at school and in their lives without the fear of paying a fine.
The Calgary Public Library will also be forgiving users of any existing fines. If users still want to pay their fines prior to July 1, the money will be collected and donated to the Resiliency Fund at the Calgary Public Library Foundation. The Resiliency Fund goes towards offsetting lost revenue due to the fine-free model.
The Calgary Public Library has also released information on the library's plan for reopening. As of now, they will:
Reopen Bowness, Central, Country Hills, Crowfoot, Fish Creek, Forest Lawn, Giuffre Family, Judith Umbach, Louise Riley, Memorial Park, Nicholls Family, Nose Hill, Sage Hill, Signal Hill, and Southwood library branches.
Have metered access, limited hours, and public health protocols in place at branch locations. This includes hand sanitizing stations, limited capacity, and physical distancing. You can watch the video below to help guide you through the new process.
Continue to provide Digital Library access to eBook, audiobooks, and movies as well as weekly virtual programming and the Curbside Holds Service.