Libraries  |  10 Jul 2024

Library customers with adult membership can now access holds free of charge.

The change took effect on Monday 1 July, following acceptance of the change in the Long Term Plan.  Previously, customers with an adult membership have had to pay $2 per hold.

It is one of several changes implemented within Christchurch City Libraries over recent years that have been designed to reduce barriers and promote equity of access for customers.

In 2022 fines were removed from overdue material and hold fees reduced from $3 to $2.

Over the following year, the library had a 10% increase in the number of new members compared to the previous year, the number of issues increased 4.2% and there was a 16 % increase in people utilising the hold service. 

“With free holds now available for adult members, this means no one now pays for this service, says Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson.

Youth and concession members have had free holds for more than 20 years.

“This removes a barrier to access for customers who cannot afford the hold fee on items from the physical collection. Not only will this increase people’s access to popular titles but also to books held in storage or other libraries in our network,” Ms Robertson says.

“While some customers use more than one library, others are limited to their local library and what is available on the shelves. Free holds will provide increased access to all the network’s lending collection.

Adults will be limited to 15 holds, the same limit that applies to other membership profiles. 

“The introduction of this free service may mean longer wait times for some popular titles, however we will be monitoring holds very closely and will change our buying patterns if needed.”

Ms Robertson says it is likely there will be an increase in the use of titles held in offsite storage. These are books that are deemed important to keep in the collection, but are often either out of print, or in a condition that would not last if they were available on the open shelves in libraries.