Librarian makes plea on book fines

Rural Otorohanga families are facing fines of up to $20 because they do not get into town often enough to return their library books on time.

Otorohanga district librarian Sarah Osborne has asked the council to halve its 20 cent a day fine on children's books to help struggling families.

"When you have busy families living out of town it's very easy to slip up and be overdue, and suddenly they are landed with big charges," she said.

"Library staff are of the opinion that the prospect of incurring overdue charges may be deterring families from encouraging children to regularly borrow library books. A reduction in the overdue fee for children's books to 10c a day could well lead to increased issues of children's materials.

"In the 2011-2012 financial year, a total of $4941.98 was generated from library overdue charges . . . A reduction of the overdue charge on children's books will in the short term lead to some reduction in library revenue. However, an increase in the volume of books being issued to children could offset this effect over time."

Otorohanga Mayor Dale Williams said waiving overdue fees would add cost to the operation.

He suggested automatically notifying readers ahead of their overdue date so that they could avoid fines.

"If the world is changing, tech-wise, we have to be aware of it and able to be more proactive."

Cr Sue Blackler suggested decreasing the fine on children's books and increasing the fine on adults books to 30 cents a day.

Councillors agreed to halve the fines on children's books.