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3 March 2022| | 3 min read
New chapter for Newcastle libraries as late fines abolished
Library users in Newcastle will no longer face fines for returning books late.
Late fee charges were suspended at the city’s libraries in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, Newcastle City Council has announced the move will made permanent from April 1.
It is hoped that removing late fines will encourage more people to use library services.
Cllr Irim Ali, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for Community Services and Public Engagement, said: “Libraries are for everyone and we want to do all we can to get people to use them.
“Fines may have been designed to encourage people to return books on time but in reality they are a barrier for some, especially those on lower incomes.
“And in some cases the worry of incurring late fees can stop people from visiting libraries altogether, causing them to miss out on free services.
“We want our libraries to be as accessible as possible so we hope getting rid of fines will see more people benefit from the amazing services they offer.
“Our libraries are far more than buildings full of books – they provide a wide range of services including online resources, study spaces, printing facilities and are hubs for community-based activities.”
The council has become the latest local authority to abolish fees for overdue books.
The fine-free policy has been adopted by councils across the UK and around the world, with some seeing a rise in the number of items being borrowed.
The new policy does not mean books at Newcastle’s libraries can be taken out forever.
Residents will still be expected to return items on or before the due date to allow others to borrow the books.
Items can be renewed over the phone, via the Newcastle Libraries app, in person or by accessing your account online.
Up to three renewals per item is allowed, providing it is not reserved by another member.
For more information about library services, visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/libraries-and-culture.
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