Friends of the Nelson Library committee member Barbara Rhodes has never had an overdue book fine, but is pleased to learn she can soon renew items online. Photo: Kate Russell.

Biggest library fines revealed


If you are feeling guilty about not returning your library book you are not alone – Nelson libraries have had 37,000 overdue items in the last year with members racking up $65,000 in fines.

Nelson’s biggest library fines and most borrowed titles have also been revealed to the Nelson Weekly, as some changes come in to make book borrowing even easier.

According to recent Nelson City Council data, the most popular items at our libraries in 2018/19 were Lee Child novels.

The British author’s The Midnight Line was borrowed 173 times, followed closely by other Jack Reacher series thrillers Night School, Past Tense and Make Me.

But some library loans didn’t come back on time, or at all.

There have been 37,018 overdue items in 2018/19 with members racking up $65,193 in fines. The highest total fine for one member for this period was $152.63, which has been paid.

A hefty 4972 items were assumed ‘lost’ with one unlucky library member having to fork out $80.50 for a missing book.

With a current membership of 39,874, council’s group manager community services Roger Ball says Nelson has one of the highest per capita memberships in New Zealand.

Roger says in order to reduce the number of overdue items, they will be introducing an alert system, as well as online renewals from July 1.

There is also a new Nelson Public Libraries app which allows users to digitally browse the library’s collection, renew items or place holds.

In order to maintain the libraries’ revenue requirements, Roger says overdue charges on items in the adult collections will increase from 30 to 50 cents per day.

But, just like children’s items, there will now be no overdue charges for young adult items.

To get the Nelson Public Libraries app, go to