Goldfields Libraries bid farewell to fines

(Emily via Pexels)

Public libraries in Gisborne, Kyneton, Romsey and Woodend are joining the ranks of those no longer charging late fees for overdue items.

The change at Goldfields Libraries was officially implemented on July 1 this year, but the library service hasn’t been charging overdue fines since the beginning of the COVID-10 pandemic.

Goldfields Libraries chief executive Mark Hands said public libraries were about providing free and universal access to information.

“Life is hectic,” Mr Hands said.

“A small fine just because you returned a library book a few days late shouldn’t be a barrier to library access, but for some, it is.

“Removing fines means everyone can enjoy the library without worry, borrow as many books and DVDs as they can carry, and keep coming back for more.”

The Library Board gave the change the go-ahead following reports from other library services showing the removal of late fees increased visitation, borrowing and returns.

Instead of building up fines, members will be barred from reserving or borrowing items if they have more than 21 days overdue on their account, and charges will still apply for lost or damaged items.

“We’re following the lead of many other public libraries, and it’s becoming clear that library fines do not encourage borrowers to bring their items back on time. In fact, it may deter them from borrowing at all,” mr Hands said.

“Other library services have done the math and found that the cost of imposing fines was actually greater than the revenue they collected.”

Historical fines have also been wiped.