From fine to healthy at your library

Ballsbridge Library photos courtesy Google.

By Geneva Pattison

Just a reminder that from New Year’s day of this year all library fines have been abolished for all overdue library books. The public are encouraged to return any overdue items to the library that are in good condition, without any repercussions.

Acting Dublin City Librarian, Brendan Teeling, made a statement on the DCC’s website citing that “libraries are an invaluable resource for all the community and we want to remove any barriers that might prevent people making full use of them”. He went on to say that “libraries are welcoming spaces where all members of the community can access knowledge, ideas and information, where people can reflect, connect and learn”.

Teeling also touched on how fines “disproportionately affect” those of a lower income and that the prospect of receiving a fine can prove to be a deterrent for any children wishing to access a library.

From now on, library users will receive overdue notices in a bid to motivate them to renew online or return their books and to contact the library directly if issue arises. In failing to do so, they may lose access to the library altogether and will have to visit the library in person to speak to someone about validating their membership again.

Along with this initiative, libraries are still on track for fulfilling the 2022 plan to revamp the public service. Some of the aspects we have to look forward to are later opening hours, improved access and building developments.

TD Michael Ring has stated in the initiative plan that “[He is] confident [it] will establish the library service as a relevant, modern and high quality service”.   

The service has come a long way since the first library strategy was published in 1998, with access to audio books, assisted technologies for those with sight or reading difficulties, online catalogues, WIFI and studying or learning supports. With these new improvements being promised, let’s look forward to the delivery of the state of the art facilities and continuing the positive overhaul.

Positive Changes

Another positive on-going initiative the library has introduced is the Healthy Ireland at Your Library project. The series of events will end on February 20th, but there will still be a variety of talks, workshops and discussions to look forward to which will surround the themes of #eatwell, #bewell and #thinkwell. All local libraries will have information booklets including listings of the remaining events in February.

The Dublin library development sector have released a statement to NewsFour regarding the ongoing Healthy Ireland programme: “Already we have had over 300 people coming in to the libraries to take part. We are delighted with the response so far to Healthy Ireland from the public and we look forward to welcoming more people over the next month.

One of the City Council’s aims is to support people in improving their quality of life, and being in good health is fundamental to that. The library programme offers information, tips, and workshops for people to ask questions and participate  through events, books, ebooks and online courses.

We invite people to come along and see what Healthy Ireland @ Your Library can do for them – remember, it’s all free and all are welcome.”

If you can’t make a talk, there is a comprehensive reading list of library books in the booklets too. They cover topics like healthy eating, mindfulness and parenting and are all available through the library. Also, for the younger people in the family, there are books covering mental health for teens and children. Admission is free for these talks but booking is essential. Please call your local library to enquire about securing a place.

Speaking locally to Ringsend Library personnel, they have said they welcome all new members to the library and encourage people to come in and explore all that the library has to offer. This warm, welcoming space has internet facilities, self-service printing, their special maritime collection, passport application forms and most importantly a huge selection of books to peruse and delve into.

Local libraries are a treasure in each community, we need to utilise this local resource to ensure its future.