The Waimate District Library will no longer impose fines for children’s and young adult books being returned after their due date.
It is the ethos of the library to encourage people, especially young people, to use the library and imposing fines goes against the grain of this ethos.
Mayor Craig Rowley says exposing children from an early age to a world rich in words helps them become competent readers and writers, giving them an advantage in school and life.
“We serve youth of all ages with high-quality books, resources, homework help, internet access and caring staff who offer personal assistance,” says Mayor Rowley.
“Reading and literacy have been shown to be adversely affected by low family income. Children from low-income backgrounds are often disadvantaged when it comes to early exposure to reading. This, in turn, creates massive reading readiness gaps between even the youngest children. By age three, children from wealthier families have typically heard 30 million more words than children from low-income families.”
Entering kindergarten, children from low-income families are 12-14 months below national norms in language and pre-reading skills. By the time they reach school, these children have only one quarter the vocabulary of children from wealthier homes.
“To help parents and caregivers to have great access to books we have removed the barrier that fines on children’s books as families avoid the risk of a late fee by not letting their children have access to our Library. So now children’s and young adult books do not incur late fees.”