1.Why were overdue charges removed?
During COVID-19 overdue charges in libraries across the country were suspended to avoid penalising people who were unable to return items on loan during lockdown and periods of self-isolation.
When libraries were able to loan books again some COVID restrictions still applied and in Staffordshire charges were never re-introduced.
2.Why have you reinstated overdue charges?
Overdue charges have been an integral part of running an efficient library service, encouraging books to be returned on time, and by extension giving customers more opportunity to see and borrow newer books, as a good turnover of stock is maintained.
In Staffordshire, there is a network of 27 community managed libraries, which rely on, and have missed, the income from overdue charges to help with day-to-day running costs. It is important that we support these libraries and enable them to a deliver a library offer into their respective communities.
3.What about the cost-of-living crisis?
Customer can renew books online, over the phone and via the Staffordshire Libraries app to avoid incurring overdue charges if they are unable to visit their local library.
We are maintaining the cost of overdue charges at pre-COVID levels and are extending the age limit at which overdue charges apply from 16 years to 18 years. This will enable library services to support young people in this age category.
Library users can be emailed prior to their loaned items becoming overdue. This enables customers to manage their accounts and return or renew items before overdue charges are incurred.
4.Why have you increased the cost of photocopies from the British Library?
We are charging full cost-recovery of British Library photocopies which is £11.65. Previously the county council made a substantial loss by offering copies at just a fraction of that cost.
Full cost recovery for British Library requested books and articles is already in place.
5.Why have you increased the cost of reading group subscriptions?
We have increased Reading Group subscriptions by £5.00. This covers the administration cost of collating and dispatching the sets. The group rate is still advantageous for most groups, compared to individual Reading Group members each paying a 50p request fee for each of 12 books over a year, and not necessarily receiving them at the same time as other members.