Jacqueline Williams June 30, 2012
A renowned mystery-detective novel, a book of baby names and a children's book by Dr Seuss are those on Libraries ACT's most wanted list of overdue books.
The Da Vinci Code, 75,000 plus Baby Names for the 21st Century and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish have been overdue since 2009. But library staff remain hopeful book borrowers on the black list will come clean and return them from July 1, after it was announced outstanding fines would be wiped from the system next month in an effort to bring library lovers back.
Fewer than 13,200 items have been deemed lost on the library management system since 2003.
The highest outstanding fine of $526 on one Libraries ACT member's account dates back to 2009. The majority of other black-listed borrowers owe under $50.
And while outstanding accounts will be wiped clean next month, a new penalty system will be put in its place to catch unreliable users.
Under the new system, those with an overdue item will lose library privileges such as borrowing and using library computers.
Once an item is four weeks overdue, users will be required to pay a $25 administrative fee as well as a replacement fee. However, anyone experiencing financial hardship will be able to negotiate repayment arrangements as the new policy aims to reward library members ''who do the right thing''.
Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said fines were the major reason people stopped using the library. She hoped the new policy would bring more people back and encourage users to return overdue books.
''In reviewing our loans policy, we have looked at ways to simplify the loans process,'' Ms Gallagher said.
''People who make the genuine mistake of accidentally not returning items on time will be given a greater opportunity to do so without a financial penalty. In designing the new system it is important to strike a balance between providing access to the library and its services, and ensuring that items are returned to the library collection for use by the community.''
The new policy will be reviewed in 12 months.