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Library fines for late book returns a thing of the past from October

29 Sep 2023

The new fines-free policy approved by Buller District councillors at their August meeting comes into effect next month. 

From 1 October, overdue fees for late-returned library items will no longer be added to users’ accounts.  

This approach has already been adopted by a large number of libraries across Aotearoa, with 73% of all libraries already fees-free for adults and 94% for children by July 2023 under the ‘Fine Free Public Libraries Aotearoa’ initiative. 

Fines were meant to get borrowers to return their books on time, but the reality is that fines act as a barrier to all the important things that libraries have to offer. If people can’t pay their fines, they stop coming to the library. 

Library Manager Nicky Meadowcroft says, “It is great to see Buller join a growing number of libraries around the country removing overdue fees to encourage library use, backed by a high level of support from our councillors.” 

The fines free policy applies to all late-returned library items including books, DVDs, magazines, and other lending items, effective from 1 October 2023 and removes all existing overdue late fees. 

However, if items remain overdue for 21 days, they will be assumed lost and an account for the replacement costs plus processing charges will be issued, so there is an incentive to return these items. If items are subsequently returned quickly, these charges will be removed from accounts. 

Mrs Meadowcroft says, “Removing the fines barrier will encourage more people to use our libraries. Libraries are an important part of our social infrastructure, a place to be connected, to learn, gain trusted information and a platform to ensure our communities stay connected.” 

Removing the processes involved in charging overdue fines frees up a considerable amount of staff time and resources, which can now be directed towards other library initiatives. 


For further information please contact: 
Manager Library 
Nicky Meadowcroft