Wednesday 29 June, 2022
No more fines on overdue library books at the HB Williams Memorial Library takes the pressure off everyone who loves to read.
Avid library user Danielle Takoko and her whānau of six regularly take out around 30 books every couple of weeks.
“Fine-free for me means more freedom. If we have a hump in our week and can’t get the books back on time, there’s less pressure now and we don’t have to rush.”
From Friday 1 July our library joins the growing number of local authority libraries that have also dropped charges. The historic change for Tairāwhiti was approved at a Finance and Performance Committee meeting earlier this month.
Council cultural activities manager Pene Walsh says dropping fines is part of Council’s commitment, alongside the digital library, to ensure equity of library services for all our people from Potaka to Bartletts.
The new fine-free status also means people are encouraged to bring books back, “no questions asked”, she says.
Keen readers who haven’t visited for a while are invited back to re-join without fear of old fines as they have been wiped.
Deputy Mayor Josh Wharehinga says removing library fines for children especially is a subject “dear to my heart”.
“It's disproportionately punitive, especially to children who grew up like me - Māori and in poverty.
“I remember the anxiety those fees used to cause me because I used to get out so many books from the library. I was also getting late fees because I was reading the books five times. “It’s very sensible for us to remove fines and it makes me glad for those other little Josh's out there that might be getting lots of books from the library.
“So, thank you very much, it's great.”
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