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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 304 ..

Public libraries

(Question No 23)

Mr Cornwell asked the Minister for Urban Services, upon notice:

In relation to ACT public libraries-

(1) Approximately how many books go missing each year?

(2) What is the approximate cost of these books?

(3) What steps are taken to obtain the return of these missing books?

(4) How do books go missing given the sophisticated recording methods now employed to record borrowers' books?

(5) Is legal action contemplated for deliberate theft of such public property?

Mr Wood: The answer to the member's questions is as follows:

(1) Approximately 3,000 items were not returned last year.

(2) $26,000

(3) Notices for overdue items are sent when items are 14 days overdue. The members borrowing privileges are also suspended. A second notice is sent when items are 28 days overdue. Staff inform customers if they have any overdue items when they attempt to borrow other items.

(4) Items go missing because they are not returned after being borrowed from the library. While the library attempts to recover these items in many cases the member has moved from their registered address making recovery difficult and costly to achieve.

(5) This is an option that is considered but as in most cases the cost of the items is relatively low the legal costs involved and the difficulty in locating and identifying offenders has meant that to date no cases have gone to court.

It should be noted that where an offender can be identified this usually results in the overdue items being returned removing the need for legal action to recover the items.

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