Residents across the Isle of Man are now able to join the Henry Bloom Noble Library in Douglas for free.
Douglas Borough Council is to offer free all-Island membership with effect from April 1st next year.
It means anyone residing outside the Borough of Douglas will have access to all the library’s services for no membership charge.
The new measure will see the £10 adult and £5 senior citizen annual subscription charge discontinued.
Regeneration and Community Chairman Stephen Pitts says: “By ending all library membership fees the council is making an unequivocal statement of intent; that it is committed to ensuring there are no barriers to encouraging as wide an audience as possible in the Island to benefit from the superb range of services - both “bricks and mortar” and digital - the Henry Bloom Noble Library provides.
“Libraries change lives for the better. They not only provide access to books and other literature but also help people to help themselves and improve their opportunities.
“The way people use libraries and their expectations of public services are changing.
“The council recognises that financial and demographic challenges are increasing. Standing still is not an option.
“Abolishing membership charges will attract more people to Douglas, not only to use the library but also to take advantage of the many other attractions the capital has to offer, thereby serving to boost the local economy.
“The council was therefore firmly of the opinion that the library service, fulfilling such an important community and educational role, should be freely available to everyone irrespective of their address.”