Tuesday 19 June 2018

Fines for late return of library books set to be abolished

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Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

FINES for the late return of books could be abolished as the Government considers how to increase the use of the country’s public libraries.

The charges of 5c-a-day in some areas may not break the bank, but they may be on the way out under the new National Library Strategy.

The strategy was discussed at some length by Cabinet yesterday in an attempt to encourage more people to take up library membership.

It’s understood that some ministers were of the view that the fines were “putting people off” joining libraries.

Community Development minister Michael Ring sought approval for the plan to cover the years up to 2022 at Cabinet yesterday.

The strategy aims to increase library membership and use by improving access and awareness of the services they provide and to reinforce the local library as “a trusted place in the community”.

Among the proposals in the strategy are smarter and more user friendly opening hours and removing barriers to access, including fines and book charges.

There is also to be extended access to digital resources and investment in library buildings.

Funding to support the new strategy is to come from the Department of Rural and Community Development’s existing capital allocation for 2018 to 2022.

The National Library Strategy is to be launched in the coming weeks.

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