Figures obtained by UniEel have revealed huge fines being spent at University’s across the United Kingdom at library’s. Part of our ongoing study focused on Plymouth University, where it was revealed students spent £4,879.01 on library fines during the 2016-17 academic year. This figure is well below the average value seen across UK institutions. Putting this figure into perspective – with around 23,000 students at Plymouth, this equates to a spend of approximately £0.21 per student. It is worth noting that this figure purely takes into account fines for overdue items. Other fines, such as those for lost or damaged books/resources, have not been considered.
This figure is much lower than other institutions, helped by the University’s policy of only fining students when an overdue book has been reserved by another student. With the cost of education at an all-time high, it is a relief that this policy is in place. However, not all University’s adopt a fine system – with the University of Westminster an example of an institution that instead temporarily bans students from taking out books. This would surely offer enough of a deterrent.
As an added frustration, it is often unclear where the money gained from library fines ends up. The University doesn’t include printing costs in the library in the tuition fee – one of several things we expected!
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Students are urged to return their library books on time – in order to avoid the scale of fines we’ve seen emanate from the 2016-17 academic year. There is no denying how frustrating it is when the book you have reserved hasn’t been returned on time, but the library fine system is clearly not working. Lower fines, or a switch to the before-mentioned banning process could be recommended. Figures seen at UK institutions is likely to prompt discussion regarding the fairness of library fines.