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Toronto Public Library--Circulation and Collection Use (including Fees andFines) Policy – 2013 Recommendations

Toronto Public Library--Circulation and Collection Use (including Fees andFines) Policy – 2013 Recommendations

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Published by LJ's infoDOCKET
April 29, 2013
April 29, 2013

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Published by: LJ's infoDOCKET on Apr 30, 2013
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Circulation and Collection Use (including Fees and Fines) Policy 12013 Recommendations
STAFF REPORT ACTION REQUIREDCirculation and Collection Use (including Fees andFines) Policy – 2013 Recommendations
Date:
April 29, 2013
 To:
 Toronto Public Library Board
From:
City Librarian
SUMMARY
 The purpose of this report is to request approval for recommended changes to theCirculation and Collection Use Policy and to respond to the Toronto Public LibraryBoard’s request that staff report on the impact of recent changes in the fines rates and theintroduction of new fines as part of the annual review of this policy. The lastcomprehensive review of the policy was completed and changes approved by the Boardon July 26, 2011. Amendments to introduce a fine for holds not picked up were approvedon December 12, 2011 and implemented in July 2012. Fines rates were reviewed by theBoard in June 2012 as part of the operating budget process. The policy and theaccompanying schedule of fines are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they arereasonable, effective and in line with nearby libraries and with other large urbanCanadian public libraries. This report notes that overall circulation decreased in 2012 and that this trend continuedinto the first quarter of 2013, with particularly significant decreases in borrowing of children’s and teensmaterials. This trend is of concern as it inhibits the Library’s abilityto deliver on strategic objectives to grow a city of readers and foster the joy of readingand develop print literacy skills especially for children.In 2012, Toronto Public Library (TPL) implemented significant changes to fines andfines collection, including increases to overdue fines, lowering of thresholds for using thecollection agency, introducing a new fine for holds not picked up, resulting in an increaseto the budget of $600,000. Fines revenue collected in 2012 was $10,175 short of thebudget of $3,663,374. Preliminary data for the first quarter of 2013 indicates that finesrevenues for the period are 2% below budget. The report also reviews the policy as a whole. It recommends streamlining of theconditions that lead to suspension of borrowing privileges, to facilitate growing use of online services. An increase in the number of items that can be borrowed by customers
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Circulation and Collection Use (including Fees and Fines) Policy 22013 Recommendations
in temporary housing or shelters to improve access to library services for this populationis also recommended.Several changes to the policy are recommended to provide consistency and alignmentwith other aspects of the policy. A $1.00 fine is established for interlibrary loans that arenot picked up to correspond with the fine for holds not picked up, and picture collectionsand music scores are set at a standard 21-day loan period and two renewals. Thediscontinuation of a higher fines rate and reduced borrowing period of the Best Betcollection type is also recommended. The replacement fee for a lost laptop is lowered to $500 to reflect market costs.Materials that have been reported by customers as returned, but are not found by theLibrary after several searches, are assumed to be lost after 90 days and the customer ischarged for the replacement cost. This period is shortened from the existing 120-dayperiod.Finally there are a number of minor wording changes to improve the clarity of the policy.
RECOMMENDATIONS
 The City Librarian recommends that the Toronto Public Library Board:
1.
 
approves the revised Circulation and Collection Use (including Fees and Fines)Policy (Attachment 1); and2.
 
directs staff to continue to track trends in circulation of children’s and teens’materials, and to examine options for fines for children and teens materials andassociated revenue impacts as a consideration for the 2014 operating budget.
FINANCIAL IMPACT
In 2012, TPL implemented significantly increased fines rates, lowered the thresholds forusing the collection agency, and introduced a new fine for holds not picked up. The 2012budget for fines and fees was increased by $600,000 to $3,663,374, which represented anincrease of 19%. Fines revenue collected in 2012 was $3,653,199, which was $10,175short of budget. Lost revenue associated with the labour disruption and serviceinterruption was replaced by the introduction of a Small Balance program with thecollection agency and the lowering of the threshold for the regular collection agencyprogram that was applied retroactively and therefore resulted in significant one-timerevenues. The 2013 budget for fines is $3,675,374. Preliminary data for 2013 shows that finesrevenue for the first quarter is 2% below budget. Fines revenue will continue to beclosely monitored as it may be impacted by the following trends:
 
Circulation and Collection Use (including Fees and Fines) Policy 32013 Recommendations
 
the due date email notification, implemented in February 2013, is expected toresult in reduced fines;
 
e-book circulation is the fastest growth area, and there are no fines for thisborrowing activity;
 
overall, circulation was down in 2012 even after adjusting for the labourdisruption. Preliminary information for January and February 2013 indicates thisdownward trend is continuing. The Director, Finance and Treasurer has reviewed this financial impact statement and isin agreement with it.
DECISION HISTORY
 The last comprehensive review of the Circulation and Collection Use (including Fees andFines) Policy was approved by the Board on July 26, 2011. Amendments to introduce afine for holds not picked up were approved at the December 12, 2011 Board meeting andimplemented in July 2012.At its meeting of June 25, 2012 as part of the review of the operating budget, the Boarddetermined that the Library should maintain the current overdue fine rates and finestructure and that staff should report back to the Board on the impact of these new ratesas part of the Board’s annual review of the Circulation and Collection Use (includingFines and Fees) Policy in the first quarter of 2013.
ISSUE BACKGROUND
 The Circulation and Collection Use Policy applies to users of Toronto Public Library. Itcovers activities related to the registration of Library users and the borrowing and use oLibrary collections and services. It sets the conditions and use of the Library card; theborrowing privileges, responsibilities and restrictions; and a schedule of fees and fines. The schedule of fees and fines includes some charges and fees that are not specificallyrelated to circulation and collection use, for example, digital reproduction. The policy is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it continues to be responsive,effective and relevant.
COMMENTS
 The goal of the Circulation and Collection Use Policy is to provide broad access tolibrary materials and to thereby ensure efficient use of public funds and resources. Finesare a tool to encourage prompt return of materials and make them available to others.As outlined in the Circulation and Collection Use (including Fees and Fines) Policy, thepurpose of the Policy is to:
 
make materials widely available to the community;

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