The council removed fines for the late return of books in April 2019 but is now inviting anyone who still has books borrowed before that date to return them from 6 January as part of a book amnesty.

Books can be returned to core libraries in Bath, Keynsham and Midsomer Norton or at one of the community-run libraries and old fines will be deleted.

People who think they have lost a very overdue book should talk to library staff who can remove it, and any fines, from their account and people will then be able to use the libraries as normal.

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “We welcome everyone to our wonderful libraries and we don’t want anyone to have a barrier to enjoying the books and other services we have on offer. Anyone who borrowed a book before April 2019 and hasn’t been able to return it is encouraged to bring it back to us no questions asked and without having to pay a fine.

“Please don’t be embarrassed if you’ve had a book for a long time and it’s gone missing – we’d rather know about it and be able to replace it than have people not come back to the libraries at all. Come and talk to our friendly staff and see what’s new at your local library since your last visit.”

Book returns of this nature are welcomed from 6 January onwards. The council is only able to remove fines for books borrowed from its own libraries or for books it owns, not books borrowed from other libraries which are part of our Libraries West offering.

Accounts that have previously been frozen because fines had reached £10 can be made active again.

For more information about the council-run library and information centres, community libraries and mobile libraries, go to https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/find-library-or-one-stop-shop