An end to overdue library fines

ACT library fines have been written off, with fees now being charged after items are more than four weeks overdue. ACT library fines have been written off, with fees now being charged after items are more than four weeks overdue.

Existing library fines have been written off and overdue fines replaced with a temporary suspension system under Libraries ACT changes that came into effect from 21 November 2019.

The old system of charging 25 cents a day for overdue items has ceased. Users with overdue items will be suspended from library privileges until overdue items are returned or renewed. Fees will be only be charged if items are more than four weeks overdue, as Libraries ACT will then consider them lost.

The Territory’s library service believes the changes will encourage Canberrans who may have stopped visiting due to unpaid fines to return to borrowing.

Libraries ACT Executive Branch Manager Vanessa Little said the majority of Canberrans who received a fine did not pay it, instead opting to stop using the library altogether.

“For many Canberrans, fines have proven prohibitive,” Ms Little said.

“We want to make sure that everyone can access our services, whatever their financial situation.

“Libraries are for everyone.”

The changes mean Canberrans are now able to return long overdue items without fear of escalating fines. They have been designed to encourage former users to return to their public library, as well as to make it more appealing for non-library users to begin accessing library services.

Similar changes had been made in libraries in Australia and internationally with great success, according to Ms Little, who said managing overdue items was challenge for library services everywhere.

The changes coincided with the introduction of a new, more user-friendly cataloguing system across the service, as well as the upcoming 50th birthday celebrations for Dickson Library.

For more information visit www.library.act.gov.au