August late fee amnesty for Upper Hunter Libraries network, including Muswellbrook branch

HERE TO HELP: Muswellbrook library's Angelynn Gill and Lauren Allen with some of the items donated through the Food for Fines program.
HERE TO HELP: Muswellbrook library's Angelynn Gill and Lauren Allen with some of the items donated through the Food for Fines program.

DO you keep forgetting to return those borrowed books?

Muswellbrook library, along with the rest of the Upper Hunter Libraries network is offering an amnesty for those with overdue items.

Throughout the month of August, the library will waive overdue fines when books are returned.

Technical services librarian Lauren Allan said it was the first year they had organised the campaign.

“It’s been something that we’ve been planning for a while,” she said.

“We’re looking at lowering that expectation that the library is going to come hound you.

“All we’d like is for you to come in and borrow books and participate as the community so that’s what we’re aiming for in that.

Ms Allen said there were quite a few people with penalties owing, and the library had changed its structure in processing overdue fines in recent years in an effort to minimise it.

“So now people have a few weeks after their due date to return their books,” she said.

“And, really that’s all we’re after – just returning their books – and we’re always willing to work with people.

“It’s just one fee now whereas a few years ago it was a fee per book, per day; but we’ve changed it to the one fee which is a $4 flat rate.

“After 120 days you [are] charged the replacement cost of the item.”

But, replacement fees are also waived during August if the item is returned.

“Just come in and take advantage of it,” she said.

“It’s a really great way to get back into it.”

As well as the personal benefit of not paying fees, there is opportunity for returners to give back to the community through the Food for Fines aspect of the campaign.

“If people are able to, when they come in to get their fines waved, they can make a donation of a canned good or a long-life good that will be donated to local homeless support groups,” Ms Allen said.

“People are still welcome to donate even if don’t have fees.

“We have had quite a few people donating canned goods without having fees and charges.

“So we’re getting the community members back into the library and helping other people in the community which is a really great thing to do during winter.”

For more information about the campaign, visit the Muswellbrook library website at www.uhrl.nsw.gov.au or find them on Facebook or Twitter.