Dumbarton and Alexandria libraries.

While West Dunbartonshire Council included significant cuts in library services in its needless austerity measures, from January 1 in the Republic of Ireland, members are not required to pay fines on overdue items and all existing fines will also be cancelled.

People have been advised that if their membership has been suspended, they can now have this reinstated without having to pay any fines on their accounts.

The removal of the fines is part of the Our Public Library 2022 strategy which was published jointly by the Department of Rural and Community Development, the County and City Management Association and the Local Government Management Agency.

Under the scheme, fines will only be cleared from members’ accounts once the item has been returned to the library, and previously paid overdue fines will not be refunded.

Brendan Teeling, acting Dublin City Librarian, commenting on the new initiative today, 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.

“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 our Library Services,” he said.

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