Council increases library fines for first time in a decade

Richmond Library.

North Yorkshire Council has increased the fine for an overdue book at its libraries from 30p to 35p per day.

The council said it was the first increase in almost a decade and was being made “in the light of increased pressures on finances.”

The changes will only apply to adult library members and not children.

The price to print an A4 piece of black and white paper at the library has also increased from 10p to 20p. It remains 50p to print a page of colour.

In an email sent to members yesterday, the council said income from fines and other charges goes into the library budget and contributes to ongoing service delivery costs.

The maximum fine for one book is £8.

The email added: “Charges incurred at our community libraries goes directly back to the groups managing those libraries and makes up a valuable part of the income needed to meet their running costs. To mitigate the increase and to help customers keep track of items on loan we will be introducing reminders about when books are due back.”

For details of all library charges visit the council’s website.

Last year, Harrogate Library was the most popular in the county with 177,629 visits.

Visitor numbers at other libraries in the former Harrogate district area were Knaresborough with 110,191, Ripon with 73,428 and Starbeck with 18,676.

In 2015, the running of 31 libraries in the county was handed to volunteers in the face of mounting financial pressures brought on by austerity.

In this model, the council’s library service continues to provide the infrastructure including books and public IT, as well as some paid staff support to ensure consistency across the county.

The community libraries account for just under 40% of active library users and deliver on average 50% of the total business for book lending and computer access.