Council agree to scrap fines at Angus libraries

Brechin Library
Brechin Library

Angus libraries will no longer charge for overdue library books in a bid to maximise the use of the county’s public libraries.

Angus Council’s Communities Committee agreed the removal of the charges at their meeting last week.

The move is hoped to reduce the problem of unreturned stock, while also encourage more children to get their hands on reading material, both for learning and enjoyment.

It should also help people on a low income, or who are unemployed, to make best use of theur library services, where before they may have felt the financial impact of a fine more acutely than others.

The local authority has said it wants everyone to enjoy easy access to Angus’ library facilities.

Councillor Jeanette Gaul, Vice-convener of communities said: “I am delighted we have taken this bold step.

“I hope it will encourage people of all ages to make the very best use of the excellent resources offered by their local library.

“That includes our regular customers, those who, for whatever reason, have not browsed our book shelves for quite a while and,of course, those who might be visiting their library for the very first time.

“Our libraries offer an excellent public service that supports and promotes literacy, learning, culture, creativity and overall wellbeing in our communities.”

A month-long library fines amnesty last year indicated that charges can discourage the return of overdue books.

It led to the return of outstanding stock and brought lapsed users, with overdue charges, back to their library.

In total, £5258.50 of overdue charges were waived against 624 borrowers, and 3172 items with a combined value of £24,424.40 were returned.

Many feel library fines are out-dated and give an old-fashioned and unfriendly image of libraries, particularly when compared to electronic borrowing of e-books, e-magazines and e-audiobooks for which late charges are not levied.

Often customers cannot or will not pay the outstanding fines and never use the library again, even if they return the stock.

The decision by the committee will not only lead to the removal of overdue charges, but will also results in the cancellation of all outstanding overdue fines once a new library management system is introduced in November.

Books can still be borrowed for up to 28 days, but the council would urge

people to return them on time so others can

use them.