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Overdue fines removed for under 18s

Posted on 20 Jul 2022

Children and young people will no longer be fined for not returning their library books on time under the new fees and charges drawn up by Libraries Unlimited for 2022 – 23.

Any under-18s with outstanding charges will also be able to have them waived.  Anyone under 18 wanting to remove existing fines should speak to a member of staff at their local library so their account can be adjusted..

The move is the latest in a Libraries Unlimited campaign to encourage a love of books and a regular library habit in young people.

These changes are in effect from July 2022.

Libraries Unlimited Chief Executive Alex Kittow  said: “We are committed to encouraging young people to develop a life-long love of reading, and we know that sometimes it’s not always possible to return books on time. We want to take away the fear of having to pay a fine.”

“Despite the difficulties presented by home and online schooling during Covid lockdowns, many children rediscovered a love of reading because they had more time to get into books* – and in the case of my own children, were able to read more books they enjoyed and not just the ones required for school. We know that our Click and Collect services were a lifeline for many young and even starter readers when our library buildings were closed, and we want to keep that momentum going. This will continue to be given wider support with initiatives such as the annual Summer Reading Challenge which launched on Saturday 9th July and runs until September 2022, and our very successful Secret Book Quest reading challenge which extends across the whole year.”

Overdue fees for under-16s were abolished across the four Torbay libraries many years ago, but they will be brought in line with the rest of Devon with fines being dropped for anyone under 18. Charges for language courses in Torbay will also be abolished in line with the rest of Devon. Elsewhere the total adult book fine across Devon will be set at a maximum £3.60 per item, replacement card costs will be dropped to £1.10 and the maximum charge to reserve an item will be set at £1.

Alex Kittow added: “As a charity we have to make careful financial decisions in line with our funding from the local authority and the additional grants and donations we are fortunate to receive. Our aim is always to provide as much as we can for free for our customers. All book borrowing is free including eBooks and magazines, there’s free business advice through our Business & IP Centres, and customers can book computer time and access Wi-Fi for free. There’s also a huge array of groups and clubs available at no cost.”

“We are pleased that we have Devon County Council’s support with this change. This is a massive step forward and will help remove barriers for young people accessing our services.”

More details on the new fees and charges for 2022/23 here for Devon and Torbay.

*Research by the National Literacy Trust.

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.