GU makes £90,000 in library fines

Hannah McNeill & Claire Diamond

The library at Glasgow University made over £90,000 in library fines between September 2011 and December 2012. Only 3.8% of this money was used to replace lost books.

This statistic has come to light after a Guardian (The important national one. Not us – Ed) investigation revealed that 101 of the UK’s universities, including the University of Glasgow, made £50m between them in library fines between 2005 and 2011.

The University has cut their costs in the last four years so that the cost per use has fallen 85% from £0.66p to £0.10. However, it seems they have not passed these cuts onto the students with fines still remaining high.

The main library can charge up to 50p an hour in fines for overdue books. In addition, most lost books are charged at a starting price of £25 per copy. If a student has an unpaid fine £25 or more, that student can be prevented from graduating.

Helen Durndell, University Librarian, commented: “We charge fines on books which are overdue as a way to encourage borrowers to return items so that other library users can get the books they need.”  When questioned about the size of the library fines she noted that “the fine levels have not been increased in the last few years.”

Durndell went on to further note the change that the library is making to move further digitally. She said: “We know that access to digital material offers a greatly improved service to students and we purchase in this format wherever we can. We are particularly pleased that the provision and use of Online Course Materials for students, possible under the terms of the Current Copyright Licence, continues to rise.”

With the increased availability of online information and resources, the borrowing of printed material dropped 8% and the use of digital resources has continued to rise with an overall increase of 23%. Durndell commentated: “We know that the fines income is dropping and will continue to do so.”