Li­braries aban­don over­due fines and for­give debts owed

Wicklow People - - NEWS -

WICK­LOW’S li­braries have done away with over­due fines and have for­given all the debts owed to them.

The new na­tion­wide pol­icy is part of a pol­icy aimed at in­creas­ing the num­ber of li­brary num­bers.

From Jan­uary 1, fines for over­due items no longer have to be paid and no ex­ist­ing fines will be col­lected.

Wick­low County Coun­cil Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, Mr Frank Cur­ran, said: ‘Re­search has shown that peo­ple view fines as a bar­rier to mem­ber­ship and us­age of li­braries. In ad­di­tion, fines dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fect those on lower in­comes and can cre­ate a neg­a­tive as­so­ci­a­tion with li­brary use for chil­dren. There is ev­i­dence that li­brary ser­vices which have re­moved fines see an in­crease in us­age fol­low­ing their re­moval and we very much hope that will be re­flected now in Wick­low County Coun­cil’s li­brary net­work’.

The re­moval of fines for li­brary users is one of the ac­tions in­cluded in the na­tional strat­egy, Our Pub­lic Li­braries 2022 – In­spir­ing, Con­nect­ing and Em­pow­er­ing Com­mu­ni­ties. This strat­egy, launched in June 2018, aims to im­prove ac­cess to and in­crease use of the li­brary as a com­mu­nity hub.

Cathaoir­leach of Wick­low County Coun­cil, Cllr Pat Vance, said: “Li­braries are an in­valu­able re­source for all in the com­mu­nity and we want to re­move any bar­ri­ers that might pre­vent peo­ple mak­ing full use of them. That is why we are elim­i­nat­ing fines and other charges. Li­braries are wel­com­ing spa­ces where all mem­bers of the com­mu­nity can ac­cess knowl­edge, ideas and in­for­ma­tion, and where peo­ple can re­flect, con­nect and learn”.

The re­moval of fines ap­plies to all 13 li­braries lo­cated in the Gar­den county. Li­brary branches are lo­cated in Ark­low, Aughrim, Bal­ly­waltrim (Bray), Balt­in­glass, Bless­ing­ton, Bray, Carnew, Dunlavin, En­niskerry, Grey­stones, Rath­drum, Ti­na­hely and Wick­low town.

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