Late fines are out the door at Goulburn Mulwaree Library as research reveals they're not an effective system of management.
The fines were removed from September 1, in line with many other libraries throughout the state.
"All existing late fines have been waived and no further late fines will be charged in future. Fees will still apply for the replacement of lost or damaged items," a council spokesman said.
"Worldwide research has shown that late fines are not successful in encouraging people to return their items to the Library on time, and in fact usually deter the people who need the facility most from making use of its services."
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NSW Libraries that have trialled the removal of late fines have found a significant reduction in overall overdue items of up to 30 per cent, with borrowers feeling that without the stigma of a fine they were encouraged to return the items.
Libraries have also found that overall borrowing increased, especially in the key vulnerable areas of children's and adult's literacy materials.
The spokesman said any revenue generated from late fines was offset by staff time used in administering them.
"Goulburn Mulwaree Council has made the historic decision on behalf of our community to remove this barrier for access to the Library's information and recreational materials," he said.
Library materials include books, DVDs, music CDs, and video games, as well as eBooks and audiobooks, online video streaming, language learning, and much more. It also provides access to computers and the Internet, printing services, and activities for all ages.
"We want everyone to feel confident to come to the Library and make use of the resources here without worrying that life will get busy and they'll end up needing to pay late fines," Library manager Erin Williams said.
"If you have a Library book at home that you haven't returned because of late fines, please drop it in the returns chute and start borrowing again, even if it's years overdue.
"We hope that anyone who hasn't been into the Library for a while because of late fines will come back and those who haven't joined yet will come in to enjoy what we have on offer."
Goulburn Library is open from 10am to 6pm weekdays, 10am to 1pm Saturdays, and 2pm to 5pm Sundays. Membership is free of charge and open to all residents of NSW and the ACT.
- More information about the Library can be obtained online at https://www.gmlibrary.com.au/ by calling 4823 4435 or by dropping in to 184 Bourke Street.
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