Students at the University of Lincoln are good at raising money — last week alone the Students’ Union RAG raised £373 in aid of breast cancer. On top of this, in just one year our students raised over £95,000 for the university library.

Instead of charitable donations, however, this cash was raised through fines. For the academic year 2009/2010, students forked out £95,127.95 in library fines — the equivalent to each of our 9,695 students paying £9.81.

This is a £6,000 increase from the previous year. 

Back in the academic year 2008/2009, statistics from a freedom of information request show that Lincoln students paid the library £89,902.13 in late fees.

So far, since the start of this academic year (10/11), the university has received £33,142.80 in fines. If this trend continues, the total fines for this year could top £100,000.

The fines have four different levels. For normal books, they are 25p per item, per day late. For weekly loan and three-day loan books, the fines are 50p per item, per day late.

However, for twenty-four hour loans the fines are much more significant — at 50p per hour late. According to Ian Snowley, director of library and learning resources, the library tries to reduce the fines by sending reminders by e-mail before books are due back.

Every academic year, the university gives the library £2.5 million funding, but the university says the money from fines is used to offset library service costs.

When asked if the library would suffer without the money collected in late fees, Snowley said: “It’s not as if the money made is a big money-maker, but in the current financial climate it does help.

“If there weren’t any sanctions people wouldn’t bring our stock back.”

He added: “Effectively, having fines means that the university spends less on us, which balances it all out.”