So Who Has All The Books?

The Vancouver Library system is seeking a budget increase of $625,000 from City Council to offset unpaid fines. There are apparently 70,000 (!) Vancouver residents unable to use the library because they owe $10 or more in fines. The library would like to forgive those fines but need help to do so. And a great many of them are here in Grandview:

The city’s chief librarian, Christina de Castell said:

[P]eople with lower incomes depend on libraries for access to computers to participate in public consultations related to civic affairs. Yet libraries were mostly closed this year during the feedback phase of the city’s 2021 operating budget. “Council may not have heard these voices,” de Castell said.

“Library staff have been hearing about the barriers of fines for many years ever since we started asking why people didn’t use the library.” She heard from community librarians that reasons for inactivity are related to fear that a patron couldn’t afford to pay a fine, if a book or library materials were returned late. “When it’s a choice between $10 for food or rent, or $10 to pay back library fines, it’s not a choice,” de Castell said.

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