25 September 2023

Charities to dine out on library fines

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Libraries ACT has launched a novel program that will see it excuse overdue book lending fees by accepting donations of food for charities instead.

Announced by Minister for City Services, Chris Steel, the Food for Fines program allows recalcitrant readers to convert their late fees into something good for others in need.

“Return your overdue books and other library items until 2pm on 24 December and you will be able to donate tins or packets of non-perishable food in exchange for fines being removed from your membership record,” Mr Steel said.

“The Food for Fines program is a great opportunity to get rid of your fines while also helping some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

He said all the food collected at public libraries would be donated to OzHarvest Canberra who provided meals to dozens of charities in the ACT to support those in need.

“Only non-perishable, sealed food items will be accepted,” Mr Steel said.

“To assist OzHarvest in moving the food, please consider providing boxes or reusable shopping bags if donating large quantities.”

He said Food for Fines must be donated in person during library opening hours to allow librarians to remove the fines.

“Donations are unable to be accepted on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and donations through the library returns chute will not be accepted.”

He said one tin or packet of non-perishable food would equal $2 or less of fines, not the cost of the tin or packet itself.

Items that would not be accepted included damaged, broken or out-of-date items, perishable items, items requiring refrigeration, pet food, and non-food items.

“Even if you don’t have a fine, you can still donate through Libraries ACT and OzHarvest,” the Minister said.

“All food donations will be gratefully accepted whether or not members choose to pay fines with them,” he said.

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