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 the University of Bristol, where it was revealed students spent £40,461 on library fines during the 2016-17 academic year. This figure is just above average for values seen across UK institutions. Putting this figure into perspective – with around 22,000 students at Bristol, this equates to a spend of approximately £1.84 per student. It is worth noting that this figure DOES take into account fines for lost or damaged books/resources.
This figure will be disappointing for students. The University library unveiled a new system earlier this year where books are automatically renewed, and a fine will only be incurred when an overdue item has been requested by another student.
The library stated that any income from fines is reinvested into improving the student experience in the library e.g. improving opening hours. While this system is fairer than that of many University’s, it is apparent that not all University’s adopt a fine system. The University of Westminster is an example of an institution that instead temporarily bans students from taking out books. This would surely offer enough of a deterrent.
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.