Consultation has concluded
Our library service recently undertook a trial to remove overdue fees and determine the impact it would have on residents’ borrowing patterns. The trial led to a 30 per cent reduction in overdue items and Council now proposes to remove overdue fees permanently.
About the proposal
Overdue fees are regarded as a barrier to residents returning to our nine library and knowledge centres. This is especially the case for low-income families and members who are unable to pay overdue fees.
As of May 2018, there were 37,000 individuals with overdue fees for library resources. Of these, 9 per cent were for adult members, 15 per cent for junior members and 19 per cent for youth members. This highlights the fact that junior and youth members are more affected by overdue fees than for other users. Parents often feel they can’t come into a library while fees remain unpaid and their children are prevented from borrowing. Furthermore, when these children become adults, it becomes difficult to convince them a library is a welcoming and supportive place.
The removal of overdue fees would have little impact on Council’s income. In 2017/18, only $8,000 was collected in overdue fees from members and the cost in time to collect fees often exceeds the income collected.
Outcomes of the trial
The trial, conducted from 2 October 2018 to 30 June 2019, showed that without the threat of overdue fees:
- Members were no longer embarrassed or afraid to return items;
- The majority of borrowed items were returned, often close to their due date;
- Circulation increased, particularly children’s resources; and
- Staff members were able to redeploy their time to promote library services and resources to members.
Also, during the trial period:
- The circulation of physical items increased, particularly in the children’s collections;
- A total of 1,000,200 physical items were borrowed from our nine library and knowledge centres in 2018/19 and only 3 per cent were still overdue as of June 2019; and
- The trial to remove overdue fees led to a 30 per cent reduction in overdue items.
The proposal was on exhibition from Tuesday 29 October until 5pm Tuesday 26 November 2019.
Have your say
Thank you to all those who have provided their feedback. Submissions are now closed and under review with Council.
For more information
If you would like to discuss this proposal, call Council’s Community Engagement Team on 9707 9771.
Abolishment of overdue fees
Abolishment of Library Overdue FeesConsultation has concluded