Home Contemporary The University Library Fines League Table

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 (*).

RankUniversityLibrary FinesSpend Per StudentArticle Link
1University of Oxford£167,689.78£7.29Article
2SOAS, University of London£38,435£6.41Article
3Goldsmiths, University of London£52,231£5.80Article
4Royal Holloway, University of London£52,442£5.24Article
5University of Cambridge£98,487.25£4.92Article
6University of St. Andrews£48,217.90£4.82Article
7Middlesex University£91,400.31£4.81Article
8King's College London£113,726.97£3.92Article
9University of Greenwich£79,771£3.80Article
10Durham University£63,965.75£3.55Article
11University of Reading (*)£45,297.83£3.02Article
12Aberystwyth University£23,542£2.94Article
13Loughborough University£44,415.68£2.61Article
14University of East Anglia£41,321.67£2.58Article
15City University London£48,061.27£2.53Article
16University of Hull£38,497.23£2.41Article
17University of Kent£47,924.58£2.40Article
18Nottingham Trent University£67,000£2.39Article
19University College London£87,195.47£2.36Article
20De Montfort University (*)£47,160£2.25Article
21University of Warwick£55,903£2.24Article
22Queen's University Belfast£52,889£2.20Article
23Queen Mary University of London£45,709.44£2.18Article
24University of Edinburgh£76,501.36£2.13Article
25Bournemouth University£39,694.89£2.09Article
25Manchester Metropolitan University£66,772£2.09Article
25University of Nottingham£66,775.44£2.09Article
28University of Bristol (*)£40,461£1.84Article
29University of Aberdeen£25,015£1.79Article
30University of Glasgow£47,387.19£1.76Article
31Newcastle University£41,819.51£1.74Article
32Brunel University London£21,721.32£1.55Article
33Aston University£23,975.21£1.50Article
34University of Stirling£16,089£1.46Article
34University of York£24,879£1.46Article
36University of Strathclyde£28,772.36£1.37Article
37Oxford Brookes University£23,064£1.28Article
38Lancaster University£14,541.95£1.12Article
39University of Liverpool£26,101.30£1.04Article
40University of Brighton£18,670.36£0.89Article
41University of Birmingham£28,063£0.83Article
41University of Sussex£12,442.75£0.83Article
43Heriot-Watt University£8,000£0.80Article
44University of Essex£10,591.22£0.76Article
45Keele University£7,290£0.73Article
46University of Lincoln£8,769£0.67Article
47Cardiff University£20,106.98£0.65Article
48University of Portsmouth£11,241.94£0.51Article
49Swansea University£8,417.13£0.50Article
50University of Surrey£6,797.15£0.45Article
51University of Leicester£7,861.86£0.44Article
52University of Dundee£6,268.50£0.42Article
53University of Exeter£8,485.04£0.39Article
54Sheffield Hallam University£11,039£0.36Article
55University of the West of England£7,506.09£0.28Article
56University of Hertfordshire£5,304£0.21Article
56Plymouth University£4,879.01£0.21Article
58Imperial College London£2,849£0.17Article
59University of Bath£711.70£0.04Article
60Liverpool John Moores University£0.00£0.00Article
60London School of Economics£0.00£0.00Article
60University of Sheffield£0.00£0.00Article
60University of Southampton£0.00£0.00Article
60University of Westminster£0.00£0.00Article



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 contact@unieel.com.



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