People across the Casey Cardinia region donated more than $10,000 worth of gifts and non-perishable food items to the Casey Cardinia Libraries (CCL) Forgiving Tree Appeal in the lead up to Christmas.
In years past, library members were able to get their library fines waived in return for donated gifts and food.
However in 2018 CCL permanently removed overdue fines, which changed the focus of this year’s campaign.
The Forgiving Tree has provided a call to action for people wanting to pay it forward and help people doing it tough. CCL CEO Chris Buckingham said it was inspiring to witness the generosity of library members, even when the waiving of overdue fines was no longer an incentive.
The removal of overdue fines at CCL has proved a great success.
There has been a relatively small increase in overdue items, more items are being borrowed and there has been a marked reduction in ‘lost items’.
Mr Buckingham said, “Our members have demonstrated just how committed and giving they are. It’s clear that they are motivated to help others and we’re delighted to be able to facilitate their compassion through our libraries.
“This time of year can be difficult for many. There are a lot of added pressures.
“The Forgiving Tree encouraged our community to step up and contribute to a brighter Christmas for locals in need.”
CCL partnered with eight local charities during the six-week campaign, including WAYSS, Cranbourne and Casey North CISS, Transit Outreach Service, Hampton Park Community House, Barry Plant Emerald and Emerald Community House, to ensure the donations were distributed to those who needed them most.
“Public libraries can contribute to stronger and more resilient communities in so many different ways,” Mr Buckingham said.
“Libraries really do change lives.”