Following World Book Day, Blackpool Council has announced that Blackpool Libraries go fine-free. The aim is to attract readers back to the town’s eight facilities.
From April 1, 2019 Blackpool Council will no longer impose fines when items are late being returned or renewed. All historical fines will also be wiped.
For many years under 18s have been exempt from the overdue charges, this offer is now being extended further making Blackpool Council one of only a handful of local authorities to remove fines completely. It’s hoped it will increase the reach of the service across the town, and in particular help families and older people on low incomes to continue to enjoy using the library service which is free to join and use.
Blackpool Libraries go fine-free
Cllr Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “I am delighted that we are taking this bold step and making our libraries even more accessible. Our libraries are already popular but we are always looking for more ways to attract people to use them.
“The fines were never in place as a money-making scheme, they were designed to encourage people to return their books on time. However, we know that this can have the opposite effect. At a time when every penny counts even a small fine could be a reason for someone not to return a book.
“I hope this move will attract lots of new members to join their library, and bring back people who used the service previously but were put off coming in because of their outstanding fine.”
Research shows that around a third of Blackpool’s population have used a local library in the last three years.
The income from fines has been falling in recent years. It’s believed that removing fines will encourage people to return books to libraries, thereby actually saving the service money.
Cllr Campbell, added: “A lot of the books, audio books and magazines that are on offer from the library are free to access 24/7 on people’s phones or devices these days, and none of this digital content is subject to fines. This move will make things a lot simpler for our customers.
“We still want people to bring their books back on time. We just don’t want to punish them if for whatever reason they are a bit late in doing so.”