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Unpaid library fines are down
Money owed to libraries across the district in unpaid fines has more than halved in the last two years, to just under £84,000.
The total amount of fines issued across Bradford between November 1, 2011, and September 23, 2013, was £247,404 – of that £136,841 was paid and a further £26,721 waived – leaving £83,842 outstanding.
Bradford Council says fines are written off for a variety of reasons including amnesty, bereavement, library closure, family emergency or staff error.
Between April 2009 and November 2011, the amount of outstanding fines was £174,508 out of £342,349 of fines issued in the two-and-a-half year period.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said there had been a reduction in the number of fines issued, as well as the amount outstanding, since then.
“Communication is better with customers increasingly using texts and calls to remind people they have got a fine or to bring them back,” she said.
“We don’t want people to get fined, we want them to bring their books back, and the library service has got to move with the times.”
In Bradford, library fines are 15p per book, per day, up to a maximum of £10, with no charges for under 16s and pensioners.
Nationally, research by the National Literacy Trust shows fewer people are borrowing books from libraries.
“That is true in Bradford as well – we do quite a lot of events with young people, so we’re bucking the trend with young people – but that’s nothing to do really with the fines,” Coun Hinchcliffe said.
The library with the highest amount of fines issued between November 2011 and September 2013 was Bradford Library at £29,379. Of that, £7,596 is still be paid or waived.
Keighley Local Studies library has a clean sheet with nothing outstanding after £161 of fines were issued.
The figures, revealed to the Telegraph & Argus, cover 35 libraries across the district, including three travelling libraries.
Coun Hinchcliffe said plans for the new City Library, due to open in December, were “going swimmingly.”
The new facility will be in the space previously occupied by the Bradford 1 Gallery in City Park and the large unit next to Starbucks.
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