Libraries abandon overdue fines and forgive debts owed
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.