At last night’s (26/05) Council Meeting, Central Goldfields Shire Council endorsed that Maryborough Regional Library will no longer – following the COVID-19 pandemic – issue fines for overdue items for a trial period of 12 months.
Previously, Maryborough Regional Library staff issued fines capped at $5 for each item overdue. This undermines one of the core principles of public libraries – the provision of free and universal access to information.
Instead of issuing fines, Maryborough Regional Library will still implement a ‘support to comply’ program that encourages responsible use that aligns with core library principles which includes:
- Promotion of the free flow of information and ideas through open access to recorded knowledge, information and creative works
- Connection of people to ideas
- Commitment to literacy, information and learning
- Respect for the diversity and individuality of all people
- Preservation of the human record
- Excellence in professional service to our communities
- Partnerships to advance these values
- Suspend or restrict borrowing rights if one item is overdue for more than four days
Central Goldfields Shire Chief Administrator Noel Harvey said there is no evidence fining patrons for overdue items encouraged continued access of the Library service.
“Public libraries should be available to all community members to use, borrow items and access information free of charge. A fining system could be a discouragement for residents to access the Library service.
“By removing the fines system, this will build a more positive and engaging relationship between Maryborough Regional Library staff and patrons.”
At the end of the 12 month period, the changes will be reassessed.