Lax library-goers no longer being brought to book in Borders

Galashiels librarians Alison Blake and Debbie McGill are among those now encouraging readers to return overdue books without fear of being fined.
Galashiels librarians Alison Blake and Debbie McGill are among those now encouraging readers to return overdue books without fear of being fined.
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Lax library-goers in the Borders are no longer being brought to book.

Live Borders has given readers an early Christmas present by abolishing fines for overdue items.

The charity in charge of the region’s 12 libraries is hoping that amnesty on absent-mindedness will encourage more Borderers to make use of them now any fear of financial penalties has been banished.

It’s taking a leaf out of the book of other library services elsewhere in Scotland that have reported an increase in visits after abolishing fines for items brought back late.

It’s also hoping to encourage readers turning a blind eye to books gathering dust on shelves at their homes for fear of being left ever more out of pocket as time goes by to return them now that threat has been lifted.

Lisa Denham, connected and creative communities manager at Live Borders, said:

“Library fines have been in existence since the very early days of libraries.

“Processing and administering fines can be time-consuming for staff, and fining library members for not returning books is a slightly antiquated approach.

“We are encouraging members of the public to return undamaged, overdue library items to their local libraries.

“There will be no charges to pay, and we would be happy to reactivate any lapsed library memberships so that people can begin to use their local library again.

“Removing fines will be a permanent change, and our aim is to ensure that our libraries are there for everyone.

“By removing this barrier, it will help more people to discover their local library and achieve our charitable aims of keeping everyone healthier, happier and stronger in the Borders.”

To encourage further festive spirit, members of Earlston, Eyemouth, Galashiels, Hawick, Melrose, Peebles, selkirk, Coldstream, Duns, Innerleithen, Jedburgh and Kelso already facing charges are having them wiped out and are instead being encouraged to make a donation to Live Borders or provide an item for a nearby food bank.