Amnesty for Northern Ireland readers in possession of 87,412 overdue books

In a bid to have more than 87,000 overdue items returned to Northern Ireland’s libraries, an amnesty has been put in place with all fines being waivered.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 9:19 am
Libraries NI has 87,412 overdue items registered on their system

In previous years Libraries NI could have generated around 10p income per day from charging for overdue items.

For example, in 2018/19 a total of £73,510 was generated through charging for overdue items. After associated administration costs, the actual income figure was £7,260.

As of close of business on Monday, Libraries NI said there were 87,412 items registered on their system as being overdue.

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Jim O’Hagan, Libraries NI chief executive said: “The removal of overdue fines is an initiative that has seen positive results for many library services within the UK, the Republic of Ireland and indeed the rest of the world.

“Our focus is on offering a free service to all members of the community without barriers to participation and it is encouraging to see the usage of libraries increase each week as we reintroduce face to face programming.

“I would like to remind everyone that all library books borrowed throughout the pandemic, when restrictions applied, were automatically renewed so did not incur any charges during this time. “

He added: “As part of returning to a more normal way of life in wider society, we are encouraging our customers to come back into libraries and for anyone who still has library books at home, to please return them for someone else to enjoy, safe in the knowledge there will be no overdue fines attached to their account.”

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey, who announced the changes, commented: “As we continue to live with Covid, it is important that our local libraries are open for everyone to use and that there are no access barriers.”

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