Library members handed clean slate as fines scrapped

Borrowers who fail to return books to Wicklow Libraries in time will no longer face fines.

 As a result, Wicklow people are being encouraged to make a New Year’s Resolution to reconnect with their local library.

 From January 1st, library members through Wicklow, in line with a national move, do not have to pay fines for overdue items and no existing fines will be collected.

 Any library user who has overdue items can return them now, confident there will be no fines to pay and their memberships can be reactivated on the spot, so they can begin using their local library again.

The removal of fines for library users is one of the actions included in the national strategy, Our Public Libraries 2022 – Inspiring, Connecting and Empowering Communities”. This strategy, launched in June 2018, aims to improve access to and increase use of the library as a community hub.

The five-year strategy is a joint initiative of the Department of Rural and Community Development, the County and City Management Association (CCMA) and the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA).

Cathoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Pat Vance, said: “Libraries are an invaluable resource for all in the community and we want to remove any barriers that might prevent people making full use of them. That is why we are eliminating fines and other charges. Libraries are welcoming spaces where all members of the community can access knowledge, ideas and information, and where people can reflect, connect and learn”.

 Wicklow County Council Chief Executive, Mr Frank Curran, stated: “Research has shown that people view fines as a barrier to membership and usage of libraries. In addition, fines disproportionately affect those on lower incomes and can create a negative association with library use for children. There is evidence that library services which have removed fines see an increase in usage following their removal and we very much hope that will be reflected now in Wicklow County Council’s library network”.

Wicklow County Council has 13 public libraries. See (www.wicklow.ie/living/services/libraries) for the range of services available.

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