Figures obtained by UniEel have revealed huge fines being spent at Universities across the United Kingdom at library’s. Part of our ongoing study focused on Heriot-Watt University, where it was revealed students spent £8,000 on library fines during the 2016-17 academic year. This figure is well below the average figure witnessed at UK institutions. Putting this figure into perspective – with around 10,000 students at Heriot-Watt, this equates to a spend of approximately £0.80 per student. Read on for more.
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. Please note the figures in this article relate to the Edinburgh-based campus of the University.
Heriot-Watt University actively publishes their library fines – an admirable decision. The University should also be credited with their decision to only charge fines for overdue items that have been reserved by other students. The University reinvest the money gained from library fines back into the library. Finally, the figure for library fines has fallen in recent years.
Yet despite the positives, with the cost of education at an all-time high, this additional cost isn’t useful for students. It should be noted that 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.The University also 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, especially when they have been reserved by another student – 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.