A MOVE to bring people back to Shropshire libraries is proving successful.

Shropshire Council launched its eight-week late book amnesty in July at the start of the summer holidays in a bid to encourage visitors back into its library buildings.

The initiative allows residents who have overdue library books the opportunity to return them without facing overdue charges.

It follows in the footsteps of other authorities such as Trafford Council in Greater Manchester, which introduced the move in February.

Michael Lewis, library service manager at Shropshire Council, said the move has seen “a number” of adults and children returning to the county’s libraries but was unable to give specific figures.

He continued: “The catalyst for the book amnesty was seeing other library authorities moving towards a ‘no fines’ set-up and wanting to see if it brought people and books back into our libraries.

“The timing is designed to capture the higher traffic through the summer season.

“We particularly want to encourage children to take part in the national summer reading challenge ‘Mischief Makers’ which is being held in all our libraries throughout the summer holidays and, although we don’t charge for overdue children’s books, there is an assumption that you won’t be welcome in our libraries if you have overlooked books at home.

“I am happy to report a number of adults and children have returned items and are borrowing again.”

The amnesty comes after figures released in July revealed 111,000 fewer people visited Shropshire libraries in 2017/18 compared to the previous year – a drop of 11 per cent.

At that time Councillor Lezley Picton, portfolio holder for culture and leisure, said the figures did not reflect the number of digital loans, but added work was ongoing to encourage visitors back into library buildings.

Overdue book charges are 25p per day up to £5, however these are not imposed on concessionary members and children.

The amnesty runs until Saturday, September 8.