With fines abolished in all libraries since January 1, Mayo residents are being encouraged to make a New Year’s Resolution to reconnect with their local library.
From January 1 all library members do not have to pay fines for overdue items and no existing fines will be collected. Any library user who has overdue items can return them now, confident that there will be no fines to pay, while their memberships can be reactivated on the spot so they can begin using their local library straight away again.
County Librarian Austin Vaughan stated: "Libraries are an invaluable resource for all in the community and we want to remove any barriers that might prevent people making full use of them.
"That is why we are eliminating fines and other charges. Libraries are welcoming spaces where all members of the community can access knowledge, ideas and information and where people can reflect, connect and learn.
"Research has shown that people view fines as a barrier to membership and usage of libraries. In addition, fines disproportionately affect those on lower incomes and can create a negative association with library use for children.
"There is evidence that library services which have removed fines see an increase in usage following their removal and we very much hope that will be reflected now in our Library Services.”
Mayo Library Service is inviting everyone to visit a library during January and see for themselves all that is on offer, completely free. As Mr. Vaughan said, "We can promise that a resolution to use your library more is one you will find very easy to keep throughout the year."
The removal of fines for library users is one of the actions included in the national strategy, 'Our Public Libraries 2022 – Inspiring, Connecting and Empowering Communities'. This strategy, launched in June 2018, aims to improve access to and increase use of the library as a community hub.