City library users book up debt

The Derek Ball kinetic sculpture, Dunedin Library Plaza. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The Derek Ball kinetic sculpture, Dunedin Library Plaza. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Dunedin Public Libraries members owe the libraries about $438,000, figures released under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act show.

As well as about $222,000 in overdue fees, members owe $66,000 in administrative fees and $141,000 in lost item replacement fees.

Dunedin City Council group manager for arts and culture Bernie Hawke said the total figure was comparable to those in recent years, and there was no plan for an amnesty any time soon.

Each year, about 1500 items were lost or damaged so badly they were unusable.

Mr Hawke said that figure represented 0.01% of the 2012-13 period's 1.55 million loans.

After being 25 days overdue, a book was recorded as lost. If it was returned after being recorded as lost, the lost-item fee was waived but a $7.50 administration fee stayed on the account.

Mr Hawke said administrative fees were used to offset costs incurred by the libraries in following up overdue items, replacing bar codes and labels, and updating computer records.

The outstanding referral figure related to a $15 fee per debt collection referral, but Mr Hawke said dividing the dollar figure by 15 would not yield the number of people referred.

''The debt referral fee is not always accurately coded on receipt and from time to time may be bundled into the total cost of the overdue fees or the payment for a lost item.''


Cost of borrowing

Overdue fees                                                $222,027.97

Administrative fees                                      $66,034.44

Lost item replacement fees                         $141,146.11

Outstanding referral (debt recovery)         $8916.00


 - Nick Bosma

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