87,000 Delay Penalties … Abolished


By 2019, the number of libraries in the UK opted to reduce fines for late returns, which quadrupled. Last year, only a handful of people deployed this policy: however, there were growing indications that the existence of fines was, in the end, an obstacle for some people – especially from more backward backgrounds. Also, for good reason: if the shadow of the financial penalty for delay is removed, its consequence is to observe an increase in the number of members.

Two years later, the minister pleaded: ” As we continue to live with Kovid, it is important that our local libraries remain open to all .

Add: ” Penalties, especially when they accumulate over time, are likely to affect vulnerable people, including those on low incomes. This positive move will enable clients concerned about obsolete fines to return to libraries and avail of the many services they provide.

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The health crisis has been the source of book loan declines across the United Kingdom since February 2020. To counter this, the country decided to automatically renew books borrowed from libraries throughout the epidemic, thus avoiding the cost to many readers.

Jim O’Hagan, Managing Director of NI Libraries, says: ” The removal of late payment penalties is an initiative that has yielded favorable results for many library services in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and even in other parts of the world. We are pleased to present this to our customers who hope that many will have the opportunity to reconnect with libraries.

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So the goal here is to provide free service to all, ” Without barriers to participation To promote the use of libraries. A more needed approach after two difficult years marked by complex closures and health restrictions.

As part of a return to a more normal lifestyle in the community, we encourage our customers to return to libraries and anyone with library books at home. That is, with full security, knowing that delays related to their account will not be penalized.

A spreading trend?

Of the English-speaking countries, Northern Ireland is certainly no exception. According to an article in 2021 Public Libraries News, This policy to avoid penalties related to loans ” Get the area “In fact, the United States, Canada, and Australia seem to adopt this approach, as do many cities in the United Kingdom, for example Blackpool, Leeds or Portsmouth.

What is the main reason for removing this fine? When it turns out to be a bad experience for readers, the fear created by such a method that discourages them to a state of never returning …

Sources: Belfast Telegraph, Bookseller

Credits Photo: Belfast Central Library / Earl Johnston, CC BY-SA 4.0

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