The University Library Fines League Table

Figures obtained by UniEel have revealed enormous spending on library fines across University’s in the United Kingdom. From various sources, we have completed a study using the seventy institutions we write about – looking at the income each received for overdue library items during the 2016-17 academic year. We’ve then taken the amount of students at each institution, leaving us with a total spend per student, which we’ve ranked the University’s on. We were able to collect data on 64 of our intended 70 institutions, and there were some startling headline statistics:


  • Total Spend on Library Fines at the 64 institutions was over £2.2m for just ONE academic year
  • The University of Oxford collected the highest amount of fines – £167,689.78
  • University of Oxford students also had the highest spend per student – approximately £7.29
  • The average spend of a student studying at one of the 64 institution’s is £1.86


The table below is displayed in terms of spend per student – which is the fairest way to quantify the data. However you can also arrange the table to your liking – by clicking on a column header, you will be able to view the table by total fines – disregarding the amount of student’s. Each University has its own individual story – click on the link to be directed there. Below the table will be links to other articles which discuss these shocking statistics, and details of the six institutions we didn’t collect data on. Unfortunately, we were unable to include details of many other University’s that we don’t cover at UniEel. Therefore we must stress this is merely a sample, and shouldn’t be considered to reflect the entire UK higher education system. Yet by covering a substantial amount of institutions, it is fair to assert the current system for library fines isn’t working.


Huge fines were levied at institutions across the United Kingdom


University Library Fines League Table (From Worst to Best)
-Includes fines purely for overdue items, unless marked with a (*).

[table id=7 /]



Library Fines – Time For Change? An Argument FOR And AGAINST


Editor’s View: “This is nothing new”


Why Student’s Are Disgruntled


8 Things You Thought Would Be Included In Your Tuition Fee… But Weren’t


As you see, there were huge sums spent on library fines during the 2016-17 academic year. The evidence here suggests the library fine system isn’t working. Those that didn’t collect any fines, such as the University of Westminster and Liverpool John Moores University, instead operate a temporary banning system. Students can easily think it is worthwhile to pay a fine in order to keep a crucial book. Bans actually act as more of a deterrent – and therefore would be a better option. This is a fairer system for everyone – and lowers the chances of a student not having access to a book they had reserved. The articles featured above provide more analysis into this investigation. But seeing figures like these revealed suggests a discussion must take place soon regarding the feasibility and sustainability of library fines. Education costs more than ever before, it is time for change.





Notes Regarding The Table


  • UniEel opted to NOT include the Open University in this study.
  • UniEel was unable to source figures from three University’s. However:
    • University of Leeds: A Guardian investigation found the University of Leeds raked in £1.8M in fines from six academic years beginning 2004-05. Unfortunately, more recent data is unavailable.
    • University of Manchester: Information was available for the 2015-16 academic year. This University levied fines of £29,264 during that year. This total hasn’t been included on the principal of fairness.
    • UCLAN: Unfortunately, no data was able to be sourced.
  • Three University’s were unable to separate library fines purely for overdue items and other fines e.g. lost/damaged resources. These were:
    • De Montfort University
    • University of Bristol
    • University of Reading
  • Two University’s didn’t respond to a Freedom of Information request, and by law should’ve responded well before the article went live. At the time of writing, still no response was found.
    • These were Anglia Ruskin University and Coventry University


For further information on anything covered in this article, clarifications or information requests, please contact us at



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