Library fines to be abolished in the ACT

Released 31/10/2019 - Joint media release

From today the ACT Government has abolished overdue library fines and will forgive all existing fines.

“Fines impact low income Canberrans more the hardest and stop people from using the library. We want to encourage as many people as possible to use our libraries,” Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.

“We know that the majority of people who get a fine never come back to the library. It is a lose-lose, the fines don’t get paid and people stop using the library. We hope this reform will encourage more people to use libraries.”

Minister for City Services, Chris Steel, said the aim of abolishing fines will address social, equity and access issues; encourage people to return overdue items without fear of fines; and establish, or restart a connection of non-users with the library.

“As of today library fines in the ACT are gone, they have been erased and will no longer be charged, Minister Steel said.

“Overdue fines shouldn’t stop a low-income family from accessing our libraries that provide a connection to community and places of learning.

“We’ve seen in other cities where fines have been removed that borrowings have increased significantly and we’re hoping to achieve the same outcome in Canberra.”

Minister Steel said the system was a new way of managing overdue items. Instead of the current system of charging 25 cents a day for overdue items, Libraries ACT will instead opt for temporary suspension of library privileges until the overdue items are returned or renewed. The cost of lost books or resources may still be recovered.

“By changing our approach to overdue items, we hope more Canberrans can make use of fantastic resources offered at libraries,” Minister Steel said.

“Whilst our popular ‘food for fines’ drives will no longer take place, ACT Libraries will still undertake a food drive for charity in December.”

For more information visit

- Statement ends -

Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Chris Steel, MLA | Media Releases

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