Frankston City Councillors recently voted to abolish library fines in a move to ensure all residents have access to essential library services, including resources to assist with job seeking and schooling.
Mayor Kris Bolam said: “We know the library has been a great source of comfort to many people during the pandemic lockdown but around 21 per cent of our community had fines on their library membership which discouraged active use of the library.
“As part of a package of support for the community, Council abolished fines and also waived past fines. We hope to welcome back many more people as library members to borrow books, access job seeker or study support via Studiosity, learn a new language and enjoy all that Frankston City Libraries have to offer without fear of being penalised,” the Mayor said.
“It’s been a really difficult few months for many residents and this is just another way we are able to make life that little bit easier for them.”
Frankston City Libraries Manager, Tammy Goodwin, said: “At the start of this year we asked the Frankston City community to participate in our bi-annual library survey.
“We received an overwhelming number of responses telling us that having a fine was a reason to no longer engage with library services,” she said.
“We know that people can feel embarrassed if they’ve incurred a library fine and we don’t want our members feeling they can no longer enjoy all that the library has to offer.”
Frankston mum Liz said the removal of the fines was heartening for parents and all bookworms.
“It takes the pressure of getting books back by a particular day. We’re all busy. It takes away the stress and financial pressure,” she said.
Liz said her 11-year-old daughter, Ella, was a prolific reader and loved borrowing as many books as possible during frequent library visits.
“She’s always reserving books and borrows the maximum every time,” Liz said.
Ella enjoys reading books by a diverse range of authors including J. K. Rowling, Enid Blyton and Maddie Ziegler.
Ms Goodwin said Frankston City Libraries had focused on providing virtual activities for the whole family during lockdown.
“From our Storytimes and school holiday programs, to our workshops and FrankTALKS with popular authors – we’re here to support you and we welcome you into our library space – late fine free,” she said.
Removing library fines means that members will now be limited to borrowing 40 physical items and lost item charges remain.