The University Library Fines League Table 2017


Figures obtained by UniEel have revealed enormous spending on Library Fines across Universities in the United Kingdom. Utilising various sources, we have completed a study of over 60 institutions – looking at the income each received for overdue library items during the 2016-17 Academic Year. We’ve then taken the number of students at each institution, leaving us with a total fine spend per student – which we’ve ranked the Universities on. In total, we collected information on 67 of the 70 Universities we write for. In reflection, 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

This study shows an example of the additional costs facing students at Universities in the United Kingdom


The table below is displayed in terms of spend per student – which is the fairest way to quantify the data. However the table also displays information on the total fines handed out. Moreover, each University has an article written about it – for further information click on the link. Below the table are links to further articles discussing these statistics, along with more details. It should be noted that ONLY fines for overdue items have been included. As you can see from the table, the current library fines system clearly isn’t working in the United Kingdom.


Rank University Per Student Total Link
67 University of Oxford £7.29 £167,690 Article
66 SOAS London £6.41 £38,435 Article
65 Goldsmiths London £5.80 £52,231 Article
64 Royal Holloway £5.24 £52,442 Article
63 University of Cambridge £4.92 £98,487 Article
62 University of St. Andrews £4.82 £48,218 Article
61 Middlesex University £4.81 £91,400 Article
60 King’s College London £3.92 £113,727 Article
59 University of Greenwich £3.80 £79,771 Article
58 Durham University £3.55 £63,966 Article
57 University of Reading £3.02 £45,298 Article
56 Aberystwyth University £2.94 £23,542 Article
55 Loughborough University £2.61 £44,416 Article
54 University of East Anglia £2.58 £41,322 Article
53 City University London £2.53 £48,061 Article
52 University of Hull £2.41 £38,497 Article
51 University of Kent £2.40 £47,925 Article
50 Nottingham Trent University £2.39 £67,000 Article
49 University College London £2.39 £87.195 Article
48 Coventry University £2.30 £66,729 Article
47 De Montfort University £2.25 £47,160 Article
46 University of Warwick £2.24 £55,903 Article
45 Queen’s University Belfast £2.20 £52,889 Article
44 Queen Mary University £2.18 £45,709 Article
43 University of Edinburgh £2.13 £76,501 Article
Bournemouth University £2.09 £39,695 Article
University of Nottingham £2.09 £66,775 Article
40 Manchester Metropolitan £2.09 £66,772 Article
39 University of Bristol £1.84 £40,461 Article
38 University of Aberdeen £1.79 £25,015 Article
37 University of Glasgow £1.76 £47,387 Article
36 Newcastle University £1.74 £41,819 Article
35 Brunel University London £1.55 £21,721 Article
34 Aston University £1.50 £23,975 Article
University of York £1.46 £24,879 Article
32 University of Stirling £1.46 £16,089 Article
31 University of Strathclyde £1.37 £28,772 Article
30 Oxford Brookes University £1.28 £23,064 Article
29 Lancaster University £1.12 £14,542 Article
28 University of Liverpool £1.04 £26,101 Article
27 University of Brighton £0.89 £18.670 Article
University of Sussex £0.83 £12,443 Article
25 University of Birmingham £0.83 £28,063 Article
24 Heriot-Watt University £0.80 £8,000 Article
23 Anglia Ruskin University £0.79 £16,686 Article
22 University of Essex £0.76 £8,485 Article
21 University of Manchester £0.74 £29,557 Article
20 Keele University £0.73 £7,290 Article
19 University of Lincoln £0.67 £8,769 Article
18 Cardiff University £0.65 £20,107 Article
17 University of Portsmouth £0.51 £11,242 Article
16 Swansea University £0.50 £8,417 Article
15 University of Surrey £0.45 £6,797 Article
14 University of Leicester £0.44 £7,862 Article
13 University of Dundee £0.42 £6,269 Article
12 University of Exeter £0.39 £8,485 Article
11 Sheffield Hallam University £0.36 £11,039 Article
10 UWE Bristol £0.28 £7,506 Article
University of Hertfordshire £0.21 £5,304 Article
8 University of Plymouth £0.21 £4,879 Article
7 Imperial College London £0.17 £2,849 Article
6 University of Bath £0.04 £711 Article
Liverpool John Moores £0.00 £0 Article
London School of Economics £0.00 £0 Article
University of Sheffield £0.00 £0 Article
University of Southampton £0.00 £0 Article
1 University of Westminster £0.00 £0 Article


Library Fines: Time for Change? An Argument FOR and AGAINST

Editor’s View: ‘This is Nothing New’

Why Students are Disgruntled

8 Things You Thought Would Be Included in Tuition Fees… 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.
The University of Oxford was the worst offender


  • UniEel opted to NOT include the Open University in this study.
  • UniEel was unable to source figures from two Universities. 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. UCLAN: Unfortunately, no data was able to be sourced.
  • Three Universities were unable to separate library fines purely for overdue items and other fines e.g. lost/damaged resources. These were:
    • De Montfort University, the University of Bristol and the University of Reading.


For any query pertaining to anything within this article, please contact us at – we will respond as quickly as possible.

DISCLAIMER This study includes 67 institutions. While this is over half of the Universities in the United Kingdom, it doesn’t provide a full and complete view of the entire story of library fines.

Thanks for reading. Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter for more!

3 thoughts on “The University Library Fines League Table 2017

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.