Thursday, September 01, 2016

Fairer Fines


Good news - we are changing our fine policy effective Monday 5th September.

There has been much debate about university libraries charging fines, with the discussions focussing on the issue of fairness and whether it is an effective deterrent to holding on to books.
Fines are unpopular with students and not consistent with the welcoming and customer focused services the library offers. 
Over recent years our fines income has reduced dramatically due to a number of successful initiatives that we have been put in place; courtesy notices reminding students to renew their books, improved access to your library account online, and an increase in the number of and ease of online renewals. These initiatives were introduced in response to student feedback to help you manage your library account, avoid incurring fines and crucially to foster a positive relationship with the library. 
However we wanted to do more to improve the student experience and decided to take an overall look at our fines policy.  It was very important that we heard what students thought of the idea and in December 2015 we ran a fines and fees survey which received nearly 2000 responses. 

Thanks to everyone who took the time to feedback their views, this is what you told us.

  • Only charge fines on reserved items that are overdue
  • Do not fine students because at the end of the day, we are only human and sometimes people forget that they've taken out a book and that it is overdue
  • Make it so that only short-term items are fined and not long-term loans
  • The fine is too low and doesn't make anyone feel like they have to bring back the books on time
  • I think fining students so much is ludicrous; you should only get fined if the book has been reserved as many students just simply forget to return
  • People should not be fined for books which no one has reserved, so there is no urgency to return them.
  • Have to have a bit of a bigger fine for books that are reserved and overdue. It is not fair on other students
  • £1.00 per day is enough to convince students to be on time with books

As a result of your feedback we have taken the decision to only impose fines on items reserved by another user, so in effect if an item is not required by anyone else, it can be kept out on loan, a much fairer arrangement for students.

New fines policy


From Monday 5th September 2016 fines are only payable on overdue reserved items. 

  • In your feedback you told us that £1 a day is a fair charge for the late return of items reserved by other Library users. 
  • There will be no fines on standard or 7 day loans that are returned late, (as long as they have not been reserved by another user). 
  • Short loan, laptops and equipment e.g. headphones cannot be reserved, so fines will remain on those items, but we have reduced the initial fine from £2 on short loans down to £1.


My Library Account
We would still like you to continue to renew your items and return any that you no longer need, so please check your library record regularly to make sure that nothing you have on loan has been reserved by another user.  This will also ensure you don’t incur any fines.   

Courtesy notices
You told us you would like to receive your courtesy notice the day before your item is due, rather than 3 days before.  We will still send reminders that your items are overdue, even if no fines are due.    

Existing fines
In fairness to those who have been paying their fines, all outstanding fines will need to be paid, however they will not increase from the 5th September 2016. 

Feedback welcome
We hope you will like our new fines policy and see it as a really positive step towards improving your student experience. 


Let us know what you think.

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