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Preston library changes: Tougher late book fines, charges for kids activities and specialist services

Posted on - 14th December, 2015 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - News, Politics
Ribbleton library Pic: Tony Worrall

Ribbleton library Pic: Tony Worrall

The cost of using a library in Preston is set to increase with new charges coming into force.

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Lancashire County Council says its funding blackhole of £262 million means new fines for late book returns and charges for family events are to be introduced.

Late return of books is to now attract a fine of 15pence per day, up to a maximum of £6 per book. No one is to be exempt from these new fines, with previous exemptions for pensioners, the disabled or those with long-term health conditions.

County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “The county council faces an unprecedented financial challenge caused by relentless central government cuts and rising demand for our services.

“We are being forced to bring in a raft of measures to tackle a funding gap of £262 million which we need to save by 2020. Cabinet has just approved £65m of savings but the reality of austerity is that we will still have to save a further £197m so there will be more difficult decisions to come. Our priority has to be protecting the most vulnerable people through services such as adult social care.

“Although charges are never popular, this change should encourage people to bring back their books, so that they can be enjoyed by other readers. It should mean that more stock is available at any time.”

Library craft activities are no longer to be free with a charge of £1 per child up to a maximum of £2 for each family per session. This charge will not apply to groups including ‘Baby, Bounce and Rhyme’ and ‘Toddler Rhyme Time’.

These two charges come into force from 1 January 2016.

Specialist services increase

Anyone wishing to loan a book which isn’t held at a Lancashire library now faces a £13 per book cost for it to be brought in from the British Library.

Councillor Johnstone said: “Unfortunately we can’t afford to keep absorbing these costs for a relatively small group of people. This is quite a specialist service and the charge is now necessary.”

The cost of borrowing vocal score and orchestral sets has also increased immediately from £10 to £30 for vocal scores and £20 to £60 for orchestral sets.

Councillor Johnstone said: “Although we’ve had to increase costs, we still feel that we are providing a value for money service to support local musicians and groups. We have an extensive and enviable music score collection, but there is a cost for us providing access to it.”

What do you make of the new charges and changes? Do you use your local library? Let us know in the comments below

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