Close to 2,500 banned and inactive library members have re-visited the Griffith City Library, with monthly visitors doubling since overdue fines were waived close to a year ago.
In trials held throughout major metropolitan libraries it was revealed that overdue fines do not work as an incentive for people to return books.
Community feedback also suggested that fines actually had the opposite effect on library borrowing. Feedback included parents who did not want their children to borrow and risk overdue fines; and, people who were unable or unwilling to pay their fines were scared to come back to the Library.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve our service to the community and remove barriers to reading and education,” Library Manager, Karen Tagliapietra said.
Rather than fines, people with overdue items will have their access to library services paused, meaning they will be unable to borrow from the Library, including the digital collections, or to use the computers until their items are returned.
The change has made the Library more welcoming and accessible and improved the Library’s community engagement. Benefits have also included long overdue items returned for others to enjoy and borrowing increased by close to 2,000 loans each month.
Ms Tagliapietra has been pleased by the results, “Libraries are inclusive community spaces championing literacy and equal access to resources.”
“You want to keep your books a little longer? Great! We are glad you’re enjoying them! And when you’re finished we hope you’ll come back to the Library and borrow more.”