LOAN fees for books at libraries run by Hampshire County Council have increased by as much as 500 per cent.
Readers hoping to take out a book which needs to be acquired from a library elsewhere in the UK will now have to pay £20, compared to the previous charge of £4.
It comes after the council undertook a review of its interlibrary loan service – which sees the transfer of books on a national and international level to county libraries.
The authority has also increased its international interlibrary loan fee from £15 to £40.
It will now cost £5 to renew interlibrary loans, as opposed to £4.
A Hampshire County Council spokeswoman said: ‘Hampshire Libraries undertook a full review of the heavily subsidised Interlibrary Loan service during 2018 to understand the true cost of providing this option for customers.
‘While the provision is time consuming and expensive to offer, with many of the books requested either out of print or specialist publications which are costly to purchase, we want to continue to be able to offer this option to our customers.
‘The only way we can afford to do this however, is at a rate which more closely matches the actual cost of providing the service.’
One reader from Gosport, who wishes to remain anonymous, hit out at the increase on the basis ‘it would be cheaper to catch the Gosport Ferry and order the book from Portsmouth’.
Portsmouth City Council charges £4.50 for its interlibrary loans.
Other authorities in Southampton and on the Isle of Wight charge £3.00 and £8.05 respectively.
The council spokeswoman added: ‘The new interlibrary loan charges still include a subsidy – this will vary depending on the item requested.’
The changes will affect libraries in Fareham, Gosport and Havant.