Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

In Australia's First National Year of Reading, Another Reason Why Library Fines Are Not So Fine

Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

In Australia's First National Year of Reading, Another Reason Why Library Fines Are Not So Fine

Article excerpt

In this column in the December 2005 issue of Aplis pages 129-130, under Time to free public libraries, was a commentary on the charges supposedly free public libraries impose on their users, and the barriers to users and equitable access those charges too easily become. As I stated then

For what they provide to communities and individuals, public libraries can never be overused ... They can, however, be underused and made difficult to use by barriers such as difficult and unsignposted locations, poor parking, buildings, access, hours, resources and petty charging practices.

In reviewing the issue of fines for overdue items, it was noted that

* there is no research evidence that fining is more effective than any other mechanism for encouraging returns

* accumulated fines may discourage a borrower from ever returning an item parents may stop children from using or borrowing because of fines incurred by them

* pensioners and others may not be able to pay them, or will not want to risk being fined due to memory lapse

* more affluent users may be happy to pay a fine to retain an item, even if it has been requested by other users

* fines discomfort library staff and increase security risks for them

* fines do nothing/or the otherwise generally positive image of libraries and their staff

* the cost of the administration of fines means in reality little return to a library's budget, particularly if the money goes into council's general coffers anyway.

It was noted also (this was in 2005), that

   ... more libraries seem to be not fining if they can persuade their
   councils of its ineffectiveness and substantial negatives. … 
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.