Council axes fines for overdue library books
The council used to bring in around £30,000 in fines every year.
Fines for returning overdue library books are due to be scrapped by one local authority.
Trafford Council in Greater Manchester said it will be the first public library authority in the country to abolish all library fines from April.
The council said the move “sends a welcome message to our residents that they will have access to a completely free library service”.
“This change also aligns with the Vision 2031 ambition of ‘no one held back, no one left behind’ as there would be no barriers, either actual or perceived, of people accessing libraries and all they had to offer,” a report said.
Currently fines are doled out at the rate of 15p a day per book up to a maximum of £10 for people over 16, while fines for children are 6p a day up to £5 per book.
Council leader Sean Anstee told the Guardian the decision was based in part on evidence from Bolton council, which scrapped fines for under 16s.
He told the paper: “We don’t have an issue with people retaining books at the moment and if we didn’t have a book returned, that person’s ability to borrow more books would be removed.”
The paper reported £30,000 was brought in to Trafford Council from fines each year.
Ian Anstice, editor of Public Library News, wrote on the site that the decision had “shocked the UK public library world”.
He wrote: “Personally, I am tired of seeing people arguing over fines in libraries and I know that fines are a reason people tell me socially they no longer use libraries. So I really hope this is a successful experiment.”