Library overdue fines, the final chapter
Blue Mountains Library has closed the book on overdue fines! From 1 August 2020, overdue fees will no longer be charged and all historical overdue fines will be waived.
Blue Mountains City Council has joined an international trend by removing these charges, given they do not provide a strong incentive for people to return items loaned to them.
Overdue fines can also create a barrier for people wanting to use the Library.
Chief Executive Officer Dr Rosemary Dillon said: “We want our community to be able to access resources for learning and recreation. Families, workers, those who are sick, self-isolating or simply time-poor, will now be able to enjoy the huge benefits of Library membership without the worry of any overdue fines.”
Fees will still apply for lost or damaged items, to ensure that these can be replaced.
The removal of overdue fees means Library staff will now spend less time administering fines, and more time providing services and helping customers with information and reference enquiries.
Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “I am thrilled to be part of a Council that has had the foresight to make this historic decision on behalf of its community. The provision of free access to books and resources for entertainment and learning, is the key to a caring and healthy community. Overdue fees will no longer be a deterrent for any community member and, at a time when many people are doing it tough, this is a great decision from our Library.”
“Our Blue Mountains Libraries are consistently innovating with programs and resources from free movie streaming to book club kits, from seniors’ programs, to coding for kids. They reinvented services through COVID-19 restrictions with Pop-Up Library @ Home and a huge range of children’s programs, and now they are ensuring that they have removed the final barrier to equitable participation.
“This is yet another way Blue Mountains City Council is supporting the community during this difficult time.”
The initiative to end library overdue fines has been made possible through additional funding from the State Government, secured through the statewide Renew our Libraries campaign in 2018. This was a joint campaign between Local Government NSW and the NSW Public Libraries Association, which began from a motion that Cr Romola Hollywood took to the LGNSW conference in 2017 on behalf of Blue Mountains City Council. This campaign led to an historic commitment from the State Government of an increase in funding to Council-run public libraries of $60 million over 4 years.
“It’s wonderful that we are using our share of this funding to abolish libraries fines and make our libraries even more accessible to everyone in our community,” Cr Hollywood said.
Photo: (Left to right) Councillor Romola Hollywood, Reference & Marketing Librarian Theresa Lock, Community, Library & Customer Services Manager Vicki Edmunds and Mayor Mark Greenhill.