06/06/2012 03:16 EDT | Updated 08/06/2012 05:12 EDT

Libraries to charge patrons for not picking up holds

People using city libraries are going to start paying fines if they don't pick up holds they've requested.

The Toronto Public Library has announced its intention to charge users $1 for every held item they do not pick up, starting July 16.

The library currently does not charge its users for not picking up the holds they have requested.

Library patrons can avoid incurring the forthcoming fines by either picking up their holds on time, or cancelling them. If patrons are going to be away for a period of time, they can contact the library or go online to suspend their hold requests for the duration of their absence.

Magdalena Vander Kooy, an area manager with the Toronto Public Library, told CBC News that an average of 800,000 holds are not picked up each year, which amounts to about 14 per cent of the total number of annual hold requests.

“Our holds are very popular,” Vander Kooy told CBC News on Wednesday afternoon.

But in each instance where a hold is not picked up, another person is unable to make use of that material at that time. The library hopes that fees will help reduce the problem.

“The whole point is to reduce the waste and set up that incentive,” Vander Kooy said.

However, she said the library is going to be understanding.

“We’re not going to be unreasonable,” she said.

Vander Kooy said similar fines are used by libraries in Mississauga, Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver.