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Shelved - library fines stamped out for a month

26 January 2018

Councillor Janet Emsley with library staff and customer.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a work of Shakespeare, a Harry Potter favourite or an Agatha Christie thriller; if a council library book is returned late then an overdue charge can be issued.

But now the council’s library service is taking action to replenish its wide-ranging stock by shelving fines during a month long amnesty across the borough’s 17 branches.

Throughout February 2018, anyone with an overdue book in Rochdale borough can return it to their local branch without having to spend a penny in fines. There are nearly 500 overdue books missing from library shelves across the borough.

Shelving library fines for a short period has been successful in other parts of the country and the one off amnesty is expected to have a positive take up across the borough, ensuring library books can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

It will encourage past users of the service to return and see all the wonderful things on offer across the borough’s libraries, without the worry of fines.

Most Rochdale literature lovers return their borrowed books on time and this campaign is asking the persistent few ‘book hoarders’ to turn over a new leaf.

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for libraries, said: “We have an extensive range of books that cover all genres, interests and tastes. However, non-returned books, even for a short period, can become a long-term problem. A month long amnesty should get overdue titles back on our shelves, to be enjoyed by other book lovers, in no time at all.”

Councillor Allen Brett, leader of the council, said: “We are shelving fines for a month and hoping for a really positive response from our customers. The idea is to get some outstanding books back, win back some customers and ensure everyone can benefit from our superb collection of literature. Our libraries are branching out and we very proud of the service we offer to people of all ages.”

For more information about this story, please contact Rochdale Borough Council’s media team at or 01706 926002.