Peterborough Libraries organize a nice amnesty to try to recover 22,000 missing books.
The service, which operates 10 libraries across the region, will not fine anyone for returning late books and will clear debt accounts.
Announcing the amnesty, Peterborough Libraries said they were carrying out the amnesty both to get the books back and for users to be encouraged to return to the libraries.
Head of Library Services, Firzana Shaheen, said that “as a result of the pandemic, the number of library users has dropped significantly.”
This was, she said, “partly because people were worried about owing money to the library service.”
“We all know how difficult it was during that time and a lot of people will have forgotten that they even had books on loan from us,” Shaheen added. “In the current climate, we know how much people are struggling and we don’t want to add to that pressure, but we want our customers to come back to us.”
“We don’t want overdue fines preventing people from accessing everything we have to offer,” she added.
Library users who have lost books will also be able to have their fines canceled and their accounts reset. The amnesty will last until mid-November.
Many libraries want people to come back and are also taking extra steps to ensure they are seen as a welcoming space during the cost of living crisis.
The Guardian found that around half of libraries in England and Wales no longer charge daily fines for overdue books borrowed by adults, while a majority of libraries do not charge late fees to children.
Beyond amnesties, councils still charge adults if they lose pounds or damage them beyond use. However, some libraries have discretionary measures that take into account people’s circumstances, as well as the age of the book and why any damage may have occurred.
Libraries are also set to set themselves up as ‘hot banks’ or ‘warm spaces’, providing space to hang out this winter as electricity prices rise and the cost of living crisis unfolds. installed.
Of the libraries designated as warm spaces, 65 are operated by the charitable non-profit social enterprise GLL. Free tea, coffee and biscuits are also offered to libraries by the catering company Brakes. Spaces are open to library members and non-members, and staff are trained to offer “guidance” advice on relevant utility and cost-of-living grants.
Diana Edmonds, Director of Libraries at GLL, said: “We know that this winter many people will struggle to be able to heat their homes and we want to help. Libraries are perfectly suited to serve as welcoming spaces because they are at the heart of the community. They are welcoming environments, easily accessible, often located in the city center and already offering a wide range of free services and amenities.