Shropshire Council

Charging policy

Shropshire Libraries aim to raise as much of its operating budget as is reasonable and possible through income generating measures, both to support the net budget provision through its service committee and to support the development and provision of existing and new services. It is important, however, that charges should not discourage use, nor should they counteract policies reflecting the requirements of social inclusion and aspects of the learning society. For example, charges for library use by children are kept to an absolute minimum.

The service recognises that the generation of income must always be balanced by the desire to encourage maximum use of the service, and the need for an inclusive rather than exclusive service.

The core services of library services throughout England and Wales have to be provided free of charge. The relevant legislation and orders are: the 1964 Public Library Act and The Library Charges (England and Wales) Regulations, 1991. Core services are generally understood to include:

  • admission to library buildings and other places where services are provided e.g. mobile libraries
  • loan of books for predetermined periods
  • general staff assistance e.g. answering enquiries
  • reference and study facilities

Libraries are permitted to levy charges for services that enhance the core service. Charges may be made:

  • to encourage prompt return of items borrowed for others to enjoy
  • to cover additional costs e.g. postage
  • for additional services e.g. loan of recorded music

The income generated may be used either to provide income for re-investment and enhancement of services or to offset other budgetary requirements.

Anyone using libraries in Shropshire can expect the following range of service to be free of charge:

  • entry to libraries
  • membership
  • reference and information services
  • books borrowed and returned by the due date
  • use of study facilities
  • using People's Network computers for access to the internet, word processing and using other software and online resources
  • enquiries and assistance
  • Talking books for children
  • some events and activities e.g. storytimes

Charges are normally made for:

  • requesting items
  • borrowing audio-visual items
  • items that are not returned by the date due
  • items that have been damaged whilst on loan
  • obtaining and issuing music and drama sets
  • room hire
  • exhibition space
  • retail items
  • photocopies and printouts
  • withdrawn library stock
  • some children's activities (to defray the cost of materials or speakers)
  • some additional events, such as author visits

Where charges are made, concessions may be available. Adults and children with the following needs may apply for concessionary membership:

  • physical disability including visual and hearing impairment
  • mental health problems
  • housebound
  • learning difficulties
  • carers
  • skills for life

The charging policy will be explained to anyone joining the library. Leaflets are available explaining liability, and a current library charges poster is displayed in all premises, on all mobile libraries and on the website. Receipts are not normally given. Staff may exercise discretion (e.g. when someone is ill or in hospital, when a younger children's book is accidentally damaged or when people find it difficult to pay a fine or charge). It is recognised that judgements can be difficult in some cases, and in any case of doubt or dispute the appropriate Library Area Manager or Library Service Manager should be contacted.

View our current library charges.