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Return your books to borrow more – No late fees!

Jan 19, 2021

Do you have a long overdue library book sitting at home that you’ve been afraid to return because of late fees? Do you know someone who has been nervous about signing up for a library card because they couldn’t afford late fees if they returned their items a day or two late? Great news – on January 1, 2021, OPL eliminated late fees to make the Library even more inviting and inclusive!

This change is an important step in removing barriers for people who use or would like to use the Library – increasing equity of access, while also urging customers to return their items on time. This model encourages the return of long overdue items, which increases the number of copies available for other customers to borrow.

Other existing fees, including replacement fees for lost items and restocking fees for expired holds, are still in effect to ensure that items are returned and the OPL’s vast and varied collection is a widely shared resource every Ottawan can enjoy. No new fees have been introduced. For more information about current fees, visit our loan period and fees page.

In addition to removing late fees, we have made some changes that help shift the focus to having items returned on time and making the physical collections increasingly available to as many people as possible. These changes include:

  • A shorter period than before for items are to be considered lost -- three weeks overdue for regular items and one week overdue for Express   
  • A maximum of five renewals for items from the regular collection
  • Accounts will be suspended once they reach $25 in fees (previously $50) until the fees are paid or until lost items are returned.

 You can find more details on our Materials Recovery Model on our previous blog, Goodbye to late fees as of January 1, 2021, and on our Frequently Asked Questionspage.


We are excited to be making the Library more welcoming to all, but we understand it takes time to adjust to any kind of change. Here are some reminders of ways you can manage your OPL account.

The new limit of five renewals will allow customers a maximum borrowing period of 18 weeks for an item from the regular collection. But remember – if someone has a hold on an item, it can not be renewed. If you think you won’t have enough time to enjoy your Library items, perhaps you could borrow fewer items at a time; or you can pause your holds in your account so that they do not become available all at once.

If you want to keep track of items you are interested in borrowing, but do not want to place a hold on it right away, try our “For Later” feature! You can add as many titles as you want to your “For Later” shelf and then refer back to it when you are placing new holds. You can learn more about this feature here.


Managing the account and items removed from catalogue

I support all the new measures and appreciate the efforts for materials recovery. The advice about managing our accounts is excellent, except I have one recurring problem: items disappearing from the catalogue. Here is one example: I like the Australian writer Morris L. West and had put some of his works on my for later lists. Now there are only two novels of his left in the catalogue (in English), one of which I have read and the other not interesting thematically. I try to read the earlier novels of favourite writers first, but many disappear faster than I can manage. I realize that trimming of the catalogue is a normal and necessary process, so I would simply want to know if there is any recommendation about items due to be removed. Is there any way to know which item is due to to be removed from catalogue? Will holding and pausing an item help (not forever, I suspect)? I am sure other patrons would also appreciate some advice in this respect. Thank you for the good work.

Managing the account and items removed from catalogue

Thank you for your feedback. Items may be removed from the collection if they are outdated, no longer in demand, or if they are worn or damaged. Frequency of circulation is taken into account to determine if a book is in demand, but for older items, copies are also likely to be removed because they are too worn or damaged. You can read more about how we maintain our collection here: If we no longer have a title you are interested in, we do have our Interlibrary Loan service, where you can borrow items from other library systems. You can fill out a request for an Interlibrary Loan here:, or contact InfoService at 613-580-2940 for assistance. Thank you.

Same same - I'd love to know when items are removed.

I've unfortunately encountered the same problem not only with material I'd like to read but also with items of huge cultural significance to Canada and its history, and rare books that are now out of print. It's so disappointing and frustrating to see these items removed without care. Of course like yourself, I do understand the need to remove items that are not popular or that may be damaged but I would have happily paid to take the unused and/or slightly damaged books. I have recommended to the library via social media that they consider publishing a list of items that are to be removed from the collection so library users can peruse the list, the same way they do with new items being added to the collection. I know other libraries do this and it shouldn't be too difficult to automate. It would be amazing if the system could even notify you if an item on your For Later list is disappearing soon (in the case of an intentional cull and not just a lost item). I sincerely hope that the library will listen to my suggestion and take this issue seriously, as many patrons face the same issue. There's got to be a (better) way of addressing this!