A Kirriemuir father has hit out at a ten fold price hike in library fines which has left him facing a £30 bill for overdue books.
Graham Galloway contacted the Dispatch and Herald last Thursday after his wife returned ten overdue books to the Reform Street library - to be told the fines had increased from April 1 and that she was due £30.
Whilst admitting the ten books were a month overdrawn, he thought his wife was joking when she sent him a text to tell him how much she would have to pay.
He said: “Library fines have gone up quite severely but we only found out today.
“We took the books out for our two daughters who are aged five and seven. Admittedly they were a month overdrawn but it is not unusual for kids’ books to be overdue.
“We are never more than £2 or £3 as it used to be a penny a day for an overdue book. Now it has gone up to 10 pence a day. It is absolute nonsense.”
He also critised the fact the fines were made retrospectively with charges going back to the day the books were withdrawn, and not from April 1 when the price went up.
He continued: “My complaint is two fold. Not only have the prices gone up, but nobody told us about it. We haven’t had any notice whatsoever.
“We are encouraged to use the libraries. We used to live in Glasgow where they don’t charge any late fees for children. This is a cheap attempt to raise revenue.”
He added his family are regular attenders at Kirriemuir library and he praised the service offered by the staff.
“Our eldest daughter has won reading competitions in the library. We have taken our children there since they were babies. The librarian is great and they have fantastic reading groups. It’s a great service but as far as I can tell nobody has been told of these price increases.”
A council spokesperson said: “The increase in library fines was agreed when the council’s 2011/12 budget was set in February.
“All overdue books returned from April 1 are charged at the new rates, which were publicised in libraries in March, well ahead of the increase coming in to effect.
“The council encourages all library users to return their books by the due date as not only will people avoid a fine it more importantly brings the books back into circulation and this benefits all library users.”
She added library users who are ill or who can’t make it into the library to return books can either phone or contact the service on-line to request a renewal.