Mark Whitehead 10 October 2019

Leeds to abolish fines for overdue library books

Leeds is the latest council to join a growing number abolishing fines for overdue library books.

It says ending all fines and ID requirements will make it easier for people to access their services.

It is part of an international trend in which Ireland has abolished fines nationwide along with libraries in parts of Australia, Austria and the US.

So far there are 14 councils in the UK to make the move, according to Public Libraries News, including Angus, Barnsley, Oldham, Trafford, Portsmouth and Shetland.

Leeds is marking the current National Libraries Week with an amnesty in which all historic fines have been written off.

The city's chief librarian Andrea Ellison said: 'Library fines may have been designed to encourage people to return books on time, but even relatively small sums can be a real barrier, causing many to miss out on free services.

'By changing our policy and also making it easier to join, Leeds libraries will be accessible to more people than ever during the Leeds Year of Reading and beyond.'

Cllr James Lewis, executive member for resources, said: 'We want everyone living in Leeds to enjoy the benefits of the library service and promote reading for pleasure.'

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