Nelson Public Libraries remove overdue fees

29/06/2021 1:44pm

​Nelson City Council has scrapped overdue fees on late returned items, to give more people in our community access to the thousands of books, CDs and magazines available at Nelson Public Libraries.

Nelson City Council has scrapped overdue fees on late returned items, to give more people in our community access to the thousands of books, CDs and magazines available at Nelson Public Libraries.

The decision was made during the Long Term Plan deliberations, where the suggestion to remove fees was made among the submissions. The submission was championed by Councillor Rohan O’Neill-Stevens, and approved by Council at a meeting in May.

Councillor O’Neill-Stevens said there was plenty of evidence that showed the removal of overdue fees led to an increase in library membership and usage without impacting the overall return of books.

“This is a step toward making our libraries more accessible, and if you’ll excuse the pun it’s long overdue. We want to make sure our libraries are for everyone, and this is a fairly simple thing we can do to assist with that.”

From 1 July, overdue book fees, currently charged at 50 cents a day, will cease. Outstanding overdue fines will not be waived, but the fee will stop accruing at the daily rate.

People who have books on a four-week loan that have not been returned or renewed by their due date will have 21 days to return them. If they are not returned in that time, a replacement fee will be charged to their account. This is to ensure books are still being returned to the collection for other library members to enjoy. The amount charged will vary depending on the item.

Items with shorter, 1-2 week loan periods, such as DVDs, bestsellers and magazines, have a shorter overdue return time of 10 days after the due date before a replacement fee is applied.

It will still cost $2 to put a book on hold, and library members with fees of more than $10 owing on their account will be unable to borrow any more items until the fees are paid, or the items are returned. High-use collections will be monitored to ensure popular titles are kept in stock.

Nelson Public Libraries Manager Sarina Barron said discussions with other libraries throughout the country where overdue fees had already been removed revealed it had made little difference to their return rates.

“We have faith in our community that waiving overdue fines will not affect the length of time items are borrowed for. We simply want to remove the barrier that overdue fines pose to some of our library members.”