Figures obtained by UniEel have revealed huge fines being spent at University’s across the United Kingdom at library’s. At the University of Stirling, it was revealed that students spent £16,089 on library fines during the 2016-17 academic year. This figure is below the average amount seen across institutions in the United Kingdom. To put this figure into perspective, with around 11,000 students at Stirling, this equates to a spend of approximately £1.46 per student. It is also important to note that this figure purely takes into account fines for overdue items. Other fines, such as those for lost or damaged books, haven’t been considered.
In an age where education is at an unprecedented high for cost, having to spend money on library fines is disappointing. While the University experience is full of fun moments, this additional cost can be frustrating. Furthermore, not all University’s charge fines for overdue items – with the University of Westminster an example of an institution that instead temporarily bans students from taking out books. This surely offers more of a deterrent. Sometimes student’s could argue that a monetary fine is worth it due to the additional time spent with a book. Yet a ban would severely affect them for future assignments/exams. It is often unclear where the money gained from library fines ends up.
Students are urged to return their library books on time – in order to avoid the level of fines we’ve witnessed courtesy of the 2016-17 academic year. While it is undoubtedly annoying when you have reserved a book, only for it not to have been returned, the library fine system is clearly not working. A switch to the before-mentioned banning system could work better, and act as a better deterrent. At the very least, more transparency could be expected for where the money spent on library fines actually goes. Figures seen at UK institutions is likely to prompt discussion regarding the fairness of library fines.
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