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Casey Cardinia Libraries (CCL) is removing all overdue fines for a 12-month trial period, beginning 1 January next year.
The trial follows a successful Forgiving Tree campaign, which will continue to run until 24 December, where the library’s generous members have already donated more than $6000 worth of food and toys to local families in need and in return we have wiped their fines.
Libraries chief executive officer Chris Buckingham said overdue fines were not particularly effective as a compliance tool and undermined one of CCL’s core values of fairness.
“We exist to encourage life-long learning, increase literacy and build strong, resilient communities across the Casey-Cardinia region. Overdue fines undermine this mission,” Mr Buckingham said.
“CCL have seen the community respond strongly to the Forgiving Tree for two years running. We are confident that people will do the right thing by other library members and return items on time without the threat of overdue fines.”
Mr Buckingham said staff have witnessed time and again how much it means to people to be able to wipe the slate clean of overdue fines and once again have full access to the resources their local library offers.
“The most valuable thing about our collection is that it is well used,” he said. “We want as many people as possible to borrow items and use our services. Overdue fines are a barrier for those who need our services the most.”
While overdue fines will not be charged during the 12-month trial period, members who have overdue items will have their borrowing rights restricted until items are returned and in cases where an item is lost or not returned, the borrower will be billed for the replacement cost.
People who are late returning goods will also be able to make a donation to the library which will be used expand early literacy programs across the library service.

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