Fines for returning items late are now a thing of the past for Knox library users.
Eastern Regional Libraries have stopped issuing fines in an effort to reduce barriers to library access and encourage people to enjoy resources with confidence.
Knox City Council Mayor, Cr Nicole Seymour said the move will support those facing financial hardship and challenges with transport, who often have the greatest need for library services.
“Our local libraries play such an important role in fostering a joy of reading and enabling our community to learn, discover and connect,” said Cr Seymour.
“Libraries are more than just books, they are really important community spaces that should be welcoming and accessible for all. Particularly at a time when more households are facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID19 pandemic, the move to stop issuing fines will help ensure the fear of financial burden does not deter anyone from accessing these resources.”
Libraries across Australia and around the world have illustrated the benefits of abolishing fines, with increased membership and a higher rate of overdue books being returned. Research has shown that a majority of people with outstanding fines will never return to using library services.
It is believed that removing this financial barrier will encourage more families, young people and older residents to explore their local libraries and the collections on offer. Library users are still encouraged to return their books on time to keep them in circulation for other members.
ERL is a cooperative venture of three outer eastern municipalities; Knox, Maroondah and Yarra Ranges. It is the largest library system in Victoria with 13 branches and two mobile libraries, offering free membership that allows members to borrow items from any ERL branch. In Knox, ERL libraries include Bayswater Library, Boronia Library, Ferntree Gully Library, Knox Library and Rowville Library, as well as the Knox Mobile Library.