Haida Gwaii libraries will stop charging overdue fines for children’s materials starting on Jan. 1.
In its 2019 budget, directors of the Vancouver Island Regional Library chose to eliminate fines on children’s materials to better promote early reading. Fees will still be charged for lost materials, and library users can have no more than 10 overdue items on their card before they can borrow new materials.
The VIRL board of directors also voted to increase the budget for eBooks and eAudiobooks in 2019 to bring down wait times for digital loans, which currently average 36 days, longer than the wait for printed materials. While VIRL’s circulation of printed materials is slowly declining, check-outs from the smaller digital collection grew 25 per cent over last year.
In a related change, the VIRL directors also voted to build a circulating video game collection for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and XBOX consoles.
On Haida Gwaii, a total of $1.5 million is budgeted for new branches in Masset, Sandspit, and Queen Charlotte. All three will be modular buidings.
So far only the new Masset branch has advanced to the public consultation stage — it will be built just north of Main Street on land donated by the village.
In Sandspit, the VIRL is working to finalize a lease with the Haida Gwaii School District, and survey crews were doing some work for the library around Agnes L. Mathers Elementary last month. Library officials hope to meet again with the school district later this year to discuss a similar lease in Queen Charlotte.