This article is contributed by Lorne Chase, marketing and communications coordinator at Newmarket Public Library. Click here to find out more about the library and its events and programs.
You’re in the process of gathering up the library books that were taken out for the kids, titles like Geronimo Stilton, Scaredy Squirrel, and Clifford the Big Red Dog. But you can’t find The Very Hungry Caterpillar. You grab the stack of a dozen or so books you’ve already collected and head for the library, knowing that you’ll have to look for The Very Hungry Caterpillar later. In the meantime, you’ll have to pay the overdue fine for the book.
Sound familiar? It’s a scenario most parents can relate to, but it’s one that’s about to change.
As of Jan. 1, 2020, most fines on items borrowed for children at Newmarket Public Library will be eliminated. Not just fines on books, but magazines, DVDs, CDs and video games borrowed on the card of a child up to the age of 12. These items are identified with a ‘J’ code on their spines.
“To encourage childhood literacy, we want to let parents know that they can borrow as many books as they like for their children and not have to worry abouyout overdue fines,” says Todd Kyle, the library’s CEO.
Early exposure to books is an ideal way for children to learn language skills. But board books for babies, picture books for toddlers and preschoolers, and chapter books for early readers and middle graders are all usually short in length. To keep kids interested and engaged in reading, parents will often borrow a large number of these types of books.
With that many books in the house at one time, it’s no surprise that some can be misplaced.
“We don’t want overdue fines to be a barrier for busy families,” notes Kyle. “When getting ready to return books and other children’s items to the library, it can be a frustrating experience trying to find an elusive book or DVD, especially when you’re also trying to get ready for work or school at the same time.”
Although the library is eliminating overdue fines for children’s items, borrowers are still encouraged to return them on time whenever possible. To keep items out longer, it’s easy to renew them in person, by phone or online. You can find out about other fees and replacement costs that will still apply for items that are five weeks overdue at https://bit.ly/2rfvvgG.
To further promote an interest in books and reading Newmarket Public Library provides children of any age with their own library cards, as long as they live or attend school in York Region or Bradford West Gwillimbury. Many young children take great pride in having their own cards and are excited to use them.As well as removing fines on overdue children’s items, the library has taken a few more steps to make borrowing easier for all library members. Also effective Jan. 1, 2020, renewal of library cards has been extended to two years (instead of one), and items that don’t have hold requests can be renewed five times instead of twice.