Book borrowing now fine-free

January 13, 2022 BY

Turning a page: Geelong Regional Libraries, the operators of the Shire’s mobile library, have abolished late fines to ensure their facilities are financially accessible to everyone. Photo: FILE

BOOK-borrowing and returning from the Golden Plains Mobile Library and the Bannockburn Library will be even more pleasant than usual in 2022 and beyond.

Operator of both services, Geelong Regional Libraries, have completely got rid of late fines for adults, and in December, the corporation deleted every outstanding overdue book fine on the entire member database forever.

GRL board chair City of Greater Geeelong Cr Ron Nelson said fines can often deter people from visiting and borrowing from community libraries, but they should be accessible resource centres for every member of the public, whatever their background.

“We recognise that library fines are a financial barrier for some people to be able to engage with the library and continue to be active library members,” he said.

“Removing fines removes a barrier to participation, which is good for the community, and good for the library.

“Ultimately, fines are contrary to the core purpose of public libraries – to provide free and universal access to information.”

Almost 12 years ago, the corporation abolished late fees on items borrowed from the children’s and youth collections.

GRL CEO Vanessa Schernickau said the corporation has made this broader change as part of a global public library movement to abolish late return fines all together, encouraging more memberships, more borrowing, and more happy reading.

“Other public libraries who have removed fines have reported increases in loans, membership and engagement,” she said.

“Our libraries are for everyone. We hope that by removing fines we will welcome back some former members, as well as seeing some new faces.

“If you have been avoiding the library because of some old fines on your account, there’s truly never been a better time to return to the library.”

Books that were borrowed on or after Thursday, 9 December 2021 are due from Monday 31 January 2022 at the earliest.

Borrowers will still need to be respectful of due dates, or risk a limit on what they can take home.

As always, members are asked to look after the books and other library items in their care. If they are lost or damaged, members will be required to pay a fee.