A librarian places a book by author Lee Child onto a shelf inside Widnes Library in Widnes, Britain September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

January 3rd 2019

Halton Borough Council is removing library fines from Tuesday 8 January 2019, in a bid to make the library service more accessible and relevant for the whole community.

Halton Library Service has already seen an increase in usage in recent years and it is expected that removing fines on overdue books will increase usage further.

Having no fines on overdue books will help to improve access for all the community and remove barriers to library use.

Part of the council vision is to give ‘the opportunity for all to fulfil their potential’ and removing fines will help this to be achieved. Library fines can be off-putting for all users and Halton Libraries want to offer a welcoming service for all.

More than 50 per cent of borrowers in Halton are classed as living in the top 20 per cent  most deprived areas nationally – with 30 per cent living in areas classed in the top 10 per cent.

Currently, children do not pay fines in Halton, but this will be expanded to include all library users in a one year trial period. Library users will still be expected to return overdue books before being able to take out any more books.

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Libraries, Cllr Phil Harris, said: “This is a great move forward for our innovative library service and hopefully former library users who haven’t visited their library in a long time because of the fear of fines will make 2019 the year that they return.

“A small number of other council run libraries have taken this move in the last 12 months and have reported no decrease in book returns and in fact an increase in general usage. We want to inspire a community of readers and offer a welcoming environment in our libraries.”

The removal of fines will be for a trial period of 12 months, with a view to make it a permanent change if it is a success.

This is the latest innovation for the service that has introduced a great deal of new services and events in recent years, including expanding its online resources to include free ebooks and audiobooks, free magazines and newspapers; enhanced activities for children and young people including code clubs, Saturday stories, chatterbooks groups and teenage groups and also expanding the outreach services on offer with a home library service and community library service to reach all parts of the borough. To discover more and join online, visit www.halton.gov.uk/libraries

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