Library fines in Islington have been abolished after the council said the charges penalised people struggling with the cost of living and discouraged book borrowing.

Alongside abolishing the library charges, Islington Council has introduced a ‘fines amnesty’ to encourage users to return overdue items.

Up until now, fines were issued to those aged between 18 and 60 years old who were late bringing back borrowed items to the library.

Cllr Roulin Khondoker, Islington’s executive member for equalities, culture and inclusion, claimed that abolishing the fines would help to remove barriers for the borough’s “least well-off residents”.

The council said it anticipated that removing the charges would not affect library stock, and that it hoped it would instead encourage residents to return overdue items.

The authority added that borrowers will continue to be sent reminders to return books, and will still be expected to return books. 

Cllr Khondoker said: “We know how vital our libraries are - they offer free access to books, the internet, events, warm spaces and so much more.  

“Abolishing fines for late returns will help us make Islington a more equal borough by removing a barrier for our least well-off residents – encouraging them to make more use of the amazing facilities we have on offer.

“This is especially important at the moment as many people are already struggling with the cost of living. 

“Free access to books can provide so much, for education and entertainment, so I am delighted that we can make our libraries more welcoming for people in Islington.” 

Library fines in Islington have been in place since free public libraries began in the borough in 1905.  

Users aged between 18 and 60 years old were previously charged fines for books, audio books and music CDs at a rate of 17p per item per day overdue, up to a maximum charge per item of £7.65. 

The council said that it would keep its new policy under review to ensure that it was working as anticipated.