University of Lincoln library collected almost £90,000 in fines since last year

More than £88,000 has been collected by the University of Lincoln’s library in fines since January last year, according to information obtained by The Linc.

Photo: Liam O'Dell

The University Library has collected £88,200 in fines from January 2015 to November 7 this year. Photo: Liam O’Dell

In response to a Freedom of Information request, it was found that £54,902 worth of fines were paid to the library in 2015 alone.

This is in contrast to the money made from charges so far in 2016, with the library collecting £33,298 from January to November 7.

When asked what the money goes towards Ian Snowley, University Librarian, said it effectively goes to reducing the running costs of the library for the university.

He said: “If we were relying on the income from fines [to run the library], it would be very hard to do what we’ve done starting from this academic year which is to really cut back on the occasions when we fine students – that’s really what we’re doing.”

The library’s current fines system charges 50p per day for overdue books to a limit of £10 per item, and 25p per hour for late returns on laptops.

The news comes after the library introduced a new automatic renewal system as a result of student feedback. Students can now keep an item for as long as they like until the book has been automatically renewed 99 times, or it is recalled by another student.

When an item is requested by another library member, books taken out on a one-week loan will not be renewed and the student will be notified two days before the due date. Meanwhile, library users who have books on a four-week loan will have seven days to return the item.

Mr Snowley said: “We could see that we were collecting a lot of money in fines that we didn’t think was particularly fair, or new students didn’t think was particularly fair. So we wanted to do something about it.

“Every year, we try and run a student advisory panel, and we’re currently recruiting for that. We want to get a good group of students who can help us to refine the system and build upon it.”

The system will undergo constant review as the academic year progresses, with the library keen to get as good feedback as they can before the summer of next year.

While fines do help counteract the library’s cost to the university, Mr Snowley said a decrease in fines won’t affect their budget.

“If we have lots of usage and we have lots of good National Student Survey feedback, we’ll keep getting the money we need,” he said.

When asked what the aims of the library’s new system are, Lesley Thompson, Assistant Director for User Experience and Learning Support said she wants more students to take out more books and that fewer fines “would be a success”.

Information about the library’s fines and the automatic renewal system can be found on their website.

Students interested in joining the Library Student Advisory Group or finding out more can contact Scott Dutfield by emailing sdutfield@lincoln.ac.uk.

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