Library customers in York who have mislaid their copies of Lee Child's latest thriller or Prince Harry's tell-all memoir Spare need fear no more.

From the end of this month, Explore York is scrapping all fines for overdue books.

And not just for books that are a week past their return date, either.

Even library books that have been gathering dust at the back of a shelf at home for years - and which you've occasionally felt guilty about not returning - will no longer incur a fine when you bring them back.

'Explore staff are excited to welcome the missing books home and find out which has been away for the longest time!" a spokesperson for the city's libraries and archives service said.

Explore says it hopes scrapping fines will 'help remove barriers that may put people off using libraries and encourage them to come back and share the joy of reading'.

As well as removing late charges, the library service will also scrap the 25p fee for reserving books.

'These changes are all part of work to improve the experience for library customers which will also include the launch of an app to make borrowing even easier, and brand-new self-issue machines being installed in all York’s libraries during March,' Explore says.

Jenny Layfield, Explore's new chief executive, added that scrapping fines was also the library service's way of trying to help people through what are very difficult times.

“Charges, particularly where they add up over time, are more likely to impact vulnerable people, including those on lower incomes," she said.

"During a cost-of-living crisis, when we want to encourage people to come into our libraries and use them as warm spaces, we are delighted to be removing charges, and offering a little extra help in these tough times.

“We hope this positive move will be an opportunity for people who have been anxious about overdue charges to reconnect with their libraries and rediscover the many opportunities on offer."

The library servce will still be asking people to return books by their due date - and will send out reminders if they don't. It is important that people do return books, so that other readers can enjoy them, Explore says.

It's just that you will no longer be fined for a late return.

But what if people stop returning books on time when there is no risk of a fine?

There is nothing to suggest that will be a problem, Jenny says.

"Other libraries which have removed overdue charges have said that items are still returned by their due date."

While you won't be fined, if you do feel guilty about returning a book late, there's nothing to stop you making a voluntary donation, she added.

"Some customers may still wish to contribute to Explore’s work, and though we have ended compulsory charges, we are more than happy to receive voluntary donations in cash or online!”