CHILDREN borrowing books from one Swindon library will no longer be punished for returning them late.
Until now, only children aged between 0-4 were exempt from late fees, but that is now being extended to all children aged 10 and under in a year-long trial.
This will mean that a child’s library card will no longer become blocked at any time if there is a large unpaid fine or a long overdue book outstanding.
The parish council says the decision to implement the policy was driven by the fact that some families visit the library but don't take books home to share, meaning children are missing out on reading for pleasure with their families at home.
It added that a lack of access to books and reading has been shown to hold children back from succeeding at school.
It is now hoped that more families will take books out for their children and that there will be an uptick in borrowing at the library.
Deborah Lamb, South Swindon Parish Libraries Manager, said: "Families tell me they are already struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, and while they like to use the library the fear of overdue fines is a barrier to them letting their children borrow.
"These are the very families who need the library the most. Children deserve to have free access to books - bedtime stories are a necessity not a luxury!”