Waimakariri Libraries Getting Rid of Overdue Fines

Published: 26-Jul-2021

Borrow More, Worry Less - Zero Fines Now

Zero Fines Child

Waimakariri Libraries are excited to share that we are now fines free.

From 1 July 2021 no overdue fines are being charged on any free-to-borrow items. Fines have become an increasing barrier to our services among those who need us the most, families with young children and low-income households. Like a growing number of New Zealand libraries and libraries worldwide we want our library service accessible to all in the community, and this is why the Waimakariri Council have supported the decision to go fines free.

Any existing fines on your card will also be wiped. Library staff are looking forward to welcoming back members who have stayed away because of fines and reintroducing them to the extensive services on offer.

Read more about the decision here.

Frequently asked questions

Why are you going fines free?

Research has found library fines do not necessarily encourage the prompt return of library items, rather that they can discourage people from returning to the library altogether. By removing overdue fines, we are removing a barrier to the free access of resources that support the information, educational, recreational and cultural needs of our community.

Feedback from libraries in New Zealand and around the world, who have adopted this policy has been overwhelmingly positive, with many libraries experiencing an increase in loans and new members.

Will there still be charges?

Fees remain for damaged and lost books.

There are also charges on some items such as:

  • Bestseller books and magazines
  • DVDs and music CDs
  • Holds or reserved items

These items will still incur late charges if they become overdue.

Does this mean I can keep books as long as I want?

You still need to bring your items back on time!
Enjoy your books, magazines, DVDs for the loan period and then return them, other customers will be waiting to borrow them.

Will I have to wait longer for holds and popular titles?

We are still encouraging on time returns with notifications and reminders. Research has shown that fines were not working as an incentive for customers to get items back on time and libraries who have gone fines free are finding materials are returned at a similar rate to when they charged. We will be charging for items that are not returned. Hopefully this all means that you will receive your holds promptly!