WARRINGTON residents with overdue library books can return them without charge throughout the month of March, LiveWire has announced.

It comes as figures reveal that the number of unreturned books from the town’s libraries has risen tenfold within the space of a year.

In 2020, due to the impact of the pandemic which forced the closure of libraries, only 942 books issued had not been returned on time.

However, in 2021, this soared to 9,964, according to data released following a Freedom of Information Act request submitted to Warrington Borough Council.

The new book amnesty means that borrowers can return overdue books to any library in the town without fear of fees – no matter how long they have been on loan for.

The move follows the return to pre-lockdown opening hours at LiveWire’s 13 libraries, plus the return of events and clubs at the sites, including a number of World Book Day activities this week.

Rachel Ralston, LiveWire’s strategic library manager, said: “Spring always feels like a fresh start, so we wanted to take the opportunity to welcome people back to our libraries who may have not returned since before the pandemic.

Libraries in Warringotn are holding an amnesty on fines for overdue library books during March

Libraries in Warrington are holding an amnesty on fines for overdue library books during March

“Please come back and see what we have going on and return any books you may have had for a while.

“We pride ourselves on the accessibility of our libraries and we do appreciate that people have had less of an opportunity to return books, so we are wiping all overdue fees for the duration of March.

“We hope this will encourage people to return any books they may have, and we remind residents that children’s books never generate overdue fees.

“So, if you have not been to your local library for a while and still have some library books at home, why not come back and return them free of charge – and take a look at our new titles at the same time.”

Dedicated library teams have been hard at work since the start of the pandemic to ensure members continued to have access to services, despite the challenges of Covid-19 restrictions and concerns.

Since March 2020, with in person borrowing, order and collect and home library services, LiveWire staff have gone the extra mile to ensure Covid-19 restrictions and concerns did not stop readers being able to access books.

For more information about the library service in Warrington, visit livewirewarrington.co.uk/library