Bookshelf

CITY OF MELBOURNE ABOLISHES LIBRARY FINES

November 3, 2021

A decision has been made to abolish all City of Melbourne library fines.


Councillor Jamal Hakim resolved the fine issue at the latest City of Melbourne Committee meeting on 27 April 2021 after a a community member raised concerns towards the impact of library fines.


After two months of discussions within the City of Melbourne committee meetings, Jamal had developed a strong case leading the motion passing unanimously.


Jamal said, “In essence, libraries are the most universal access indoor amenity in the public sphere. They provide free and universal access to information and knowledge, safety, internet and so much more.”


Abolishing fines will have a small ongoing negative impact on the budget, the benefits to the community outweigh the revenue. 


The City of Melbourne Meeting notes state, “whilst varying from year to year, it is estimated that between 50 to 70% of fines issued are not paid. In 2019/20 $93,242 was collected in fines.”


The more Jamal researched into the impact fines have on the the most vulnerable in the community, the more he became convinced abolishing library fines was “the right call.”


Jamal said, “the interest from media, and community has been terrific. The librarians shared how they were able to tell borrowers that their fines were waived, to their pleasant surprise. We now expect borrowers to return more books, and to return to use our libraries.”