Islington Council have just introduced a fresh new policy that means late fees for library books has been scrapped.
Fines for late book returns have existed ever since they were first introduced to the then new free libraries in the borough of Islington, all the way back in 1905.
This move is being carried out in a bid to help the entire community feel welcome in libraries amidst a cost-of-living crisis. Plus, the borough is also introducing an amnesty for any very overdue items, which will help anyone who is hesitant to return old books in fear of being hit with a large fine.
The council has said that these measures will help to encourage those experiencing financial hardship to continue using the services provided by the council. It is recognised that people in this position are those who benefit the most from this free service, and scrapping fines can only be beneficial in this regard.
Library stock is not expected to be affected by abolishing fines — in fact, the council expects that it will only incentivise those to return long-standing overdue books given that a fine will no longer be applied. Anyone who uses the library will still be sent reminders about returning books.
Speaking about the new policy, Cllr Roulin Khondoker, Executive Member for Equalities, Culture and Inclusion, said: “We know how vital our libraries are – they offer free access to books, the internet, events, warm spaces and so much more.
“Abolishing fines for late returns will help us make Islington a more equal borough by removing a barrier for our least well-off residents – encouraging them to make more use of the amazing facilities we have on offer. This is especially important at the moment as many people are already struggling with the cost of living.
“Free access to books can provide so much, for education and entertainment, so I am delighted that we can make our libraries more welcoming for people in Islington.”
Previously, users of libraries in the borough of Islington were charged for late returns on books, CDs and audiobooks at a cost of 17p-per-day, with a maximum penalty of £7.65-per-item.
By scrapping late fees for library books, this makes Islington the third council in London to introduce such measures, alongside Brent and Tower Hamlets.
Find your nearest library in Islington here.