There’s some good news for book lovers in the city, as Dublin City Council’s libraries have abolished fines for overdue items and cancelled existing fines.

The new initiative was introduced last week, which also saw the announcement that those who had their membership suspended will be allowed to have it reinstated by calling into their local library.

Acting Dublin City Librarian, Brendan Teeling, said that the motive behind the move is to remove any barriers that may stop people from making full use of libraries in the city.

Teeling said: “Libraries are an invaluable resource for all in the community and we want to remove any barriers that might prevent people making full use of them.

“That is why we are eliminating fines and other charges. Libraries are welcoming spaces where all members of the community can access knowledge, ideas and information, and where people can reflect, connect and learn.

“Research has shown that people view fines as a barrier to membership and usage of libraries.

In addition, fines disproportionately affect those on lower incomes and can create a negative association with library use for children.

“There is evidence that library services which have removed fines see an increase in usage following their removal, and we very much hope that will be reflected now in our library services.

“We invite everyone to visit their local library during January and see for themselves all that is on offer there, completely free.

“We can promise that a resolution to use your library more is one you will find very easy to keep throughout the year,” he said.

Fianna Fail councillor in Dublin North West Paul McAuliffe said he believes the initiative will help attract new members.

He said: “Promoting the use of libraries in our community is vitally important. Library services are a massive resource to any area and it is a positive, healthy space in our community.

“Library charges have been shown to dissuade people borrowing books altogether while, in fact, doing little to ensure timely returns.

“As a parent of two young children, I believe any measure that has even the slightest potential to encourage people who have never prev ously used a library, to nip in and see what it has to offer, is to be welcomed.

“It’s important that library members still renew items and that materials out for use are returned, but abolishing fines is certainly needed to attract new people to join their local library,” said Cllr McAuliffe.