Library clears fines: community welcome to return overdue items

Published: 03 Jul 2020 11:03am

It’s safe to bring that stack of overdue books back to the Library. In a step that will please many residents with a book or DVD burning a hole on the shelf, Wagga Wagga City Library has cleared all fines – permanently.

Along with all branches of the Riverina Regional Library service, the library will no longer charge overdue fines. There are still some fees for lost or damaged items.

Manager Library Services Claire Campbell said the decision was based on a desire to remove barriers to library use.

“We don’t want people staying away from the library because they’re worried about an overdue book, or have a fine they’re not able to pay,” Ms Campbell said.

“So, no matter how overdue the item, we’d love you to bring it back, and start borrowing again.”

The trend for going fine free

Ms Campbell said libraries world-wide were doing away with fines in order to encourage more people to use their services.

“Library fines undermine a core principle of public libraries which is the provision of free and universal access to information,” Ms Campbell said.

“Libraries want their communities to borrow and read books without the fear of overdue fines. There are many public library examples where the removal of the financial barrier of fines resulted in thousands of new members joining the library, former members coming back, and lots of missing books turning up.”

SMS reminders

The library will help members keep track of due dates, by sending reminders.

“We will send you reminders on your phone,” Ms Campbell said.

“You can renew your items online or call us and we’ll renew them over the phone for you.

“As long as no one is waiting for the item, you can extend your original loan for an extra 14 days, and you can do that twice – giving you an extra month.”

What to expect if you haven’t visited for some time

While the library’s COVID-19 action plan has changed the traditional library visit, introducing shorter stay times and social distancing, some services have been reintroduced.

“Our wi-fi and computers are available again,” Ms Campbell said.

“We’re allowing people 45 minutes on the computers, which gives us 15 minutes to deep-clean them before the next person.

“We’re being very careful in terms of keeping people safe, such as practicing social distancing, sanitising surfaces, and quarantining or sanitising returned books.”

“Now the school holidays have arrived, we have lots of great books, movies, and science kits ready for families to borrow.”

Bring your overdue items back – you’re welcome!

“Libraries are free – it’s a service that Council provides, and we want everyone to have access,” Ms Campbell said.

“Your whole family can come – everyone can have a library card, including your children.

“You can borrow 30 items per card. The collection belongs to everyone, and it should be out on loan as much as possible to our community.”

For more information visit or call the library on 02 6926 9700.

Image: Library Programs Officer Jeannie Hazell and Library Services Manager Claire Campbell are busy re-shelving long-lost books, returned since the library cleared overdue fines permanently.