TIMMINS -- The Timmins Public Library is joining many others in Ontario and across North America by going "fine free" for overdue books.  

If you borrowed a book you a long time ago and never returned it, the library in Timmins is asking you to bring it back and said no late charges will be added to your account.

The library's chief executive officer, Carole-Ann Demers, said studies show that overdue fines do not actually deter people from returning items late, but they can stop people from using the library altogether.

"Sometimes they can’t pay those few dollars and that can affect their entire family: their children; everyone can be blocked from using the library because of a few fines," Demers said.

But, she said, this dropping of late fines does not mean that you don't have to return borrowed materials. If you've lost a book, the library will expect to be reimbursed for it, but if you're a little late in returning it, don't worry. 

"Our main goal is to get books into people’s hands, and most importantly, into children’s hands, and removing those fines will really help with that," Demers said.

She said approximately 2,000 accounts have been reinstated since waiving accumulated overdue fines. 

From now on, Demers said an account will only be suspended if a lost or damaged item is valued at $5 or more. In those cases, library privileges will be revoked until the bill is paid.