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Press Release - Fines Removed from all Libraries from January 1st 2019

Wednesday, January 2nd 2019

With fines abolished in all libraries across the country since January 1st, 2019 Longford libraries are inviting  everyone young and old to make a New Year’s Resolution to reconnect with their local library.

Since  January 1st, library members 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 that will be no fines to pay, and their membership can be renewed on the spot so they can begin using their local library straight away.

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 vibrant  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).

County Librarian Mary Carleton Reynolds  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. Longford Libraries have branded all of our libraries a welcoming space for all and a place where people can reflect, connect and learn. We  recorded over 230,000 visits to our six branch  libraries throughout 2018 which is an increase on the previous year and over 100,000 books, ebooks, audio books, cd’s etc. were borrowed.  This shows how valued the service is in this county and how well the community have responded to the investment Longford County Council has made in our library buildings and bookstock.

There is also evidence that library services which have removed fines see an increase in usage particularly among young families and indeed those that have books long overdue with fines attached return them to the library.

Longford County Library Service is issuing an invitation to  everyone at the start of a new year to turn over a new leaf and pay a visit to their local  library and see for themselves all that is on offer there. A resolution to use your local library more is one you will find very easy to keep throughout the year.

The removal of fines is a key aim of the new public library strategy Our Public Library 2022: inspiring, connecting and empowering communities which was published jointly by the Department of Rural and Community Development, the County and City Management Association and the Local Government Management Agency and launched by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring T.D. in June 2018.

There will be no overdue fines charged on any materials taken out from the library by library members from the 1st of January 2019.

All fine charges on members’ accounts as of the 1st of January 2019 will be removed.

The new policy to eliminate overdue fines takes effect on the 1st of January 2019; previously paid overdue fines will not be refunded.

Fines cannot be cleared from an account until the overdue item is returned to the library as the library management system does not charge fines to the account until this time. Once an item is returned, the system automatically charges the fine and this can then be cleared.

No fines does not mean no responsibility. Members will continue to receive reminders and overdue emails to prompt them to return items to the library and are asked to please return items on or before their due date to allow them to be borrowed by other library users.

If a member does not either return an item or contact a library staff member to discuss an overdue item before they receive a third reminder, their card will be blocked from taking out or renewing any further items. Borrowing privileges cannot be restored until either the overdue item is returned, or the member has made contact with a library staff member to discuss the matter.

Fees for lost or damaged adult items will be charged and these will be shown as a balance on a library account. There will be no replacement charge for children’s items which have been lost or damaged.