Casey Cardinia Libraries has extended a heartfelt thank you to all who donated to the 2017 Forgiving Tree Appeal, which delivered more than $20,000 worth of gifts and non-perishable food items for people in need.
The Forgiving Tree Appeal ran from 7 November until Christmas eve and encouraged library members to donate food or gifts and get their fines waived.
CCL made sure the donations were passed on to local charity partners, who included Cranbourne Information Support Service, Hampton Park Community House, WAYSS, Doveton Salvos, Transit Outreach Service and the 4Cs in Pakenham.
CCL CEO Chris Buckingham said the generosity of library members was inspiring and library staff were delighted to be able to pay it forward by wiping the slate clean for members willing to give back to their community.
“Christmas is a time when many households are under pressure to make ends meet. By waiving fines and encouraging people to visit our libraries, we bring people together and help build stronger and more connected communities.”
“During the Forgiving Tree Appeal, boxes full of food and gifts were distributed from our libraries, which helped to make Christmas just that little bit brighter for so many locals.”
Mr Buckingham said CCL was thrilled to be able to extend the spirit of giving into the new year by scrapping overdue fines across the library service as part of a 12 month trial.
“The most valuable thing about our collection is that it is read and enjoyed by our members. Overdue fines are a barrier for those who need our services the most,” Mr Buckingham said.
“We exist to encourage lifelong learning and increase literacy and we want as many people as possible to borrow items and use our services.”
From January 1, people who are late returning goods will also have the opportunity to make a donation to the library which will be used to expand early literacy programs across the library service.