Staffordshire University makes £19,000 in late library book charges

Staffordshire University has raked in a whopping £19,000 in library fines in just one year, new figures show.

The university, which has a campus in Stafford, billed students £18,987.26 for overdue books during the last academic year.

The money was absorbed back into the library budget for the current academic year.

However the figures, obtained through a freedom of information request, do not detail how much students were charged for damaged books – meaning the university could have raked in a much higher sum.

Despite the near-£19,000 made in 2015/16, the university has since changed its policy and no longer immediately fines students for overdue books.

Instead it automatically renews the loan if time has expired, with a cost only being incurred if the book is requested by a fellow student and then not returned on time.

Janet Weaver, the library head at the university, said: “Staffordshire University no longer fines students for overdue books.

"A new process was launched at the start of this academic year whereby books out on loan are automatically renewed if no-one else has requested them.

“This means a student could keep a text book for a year. If another student requests the book, the original student is given a number of days to return the item and only if they fail to do so will they incur a charge.

“We budget for a small amount of income from recall charges. This income is offset against the operational costs of running the library so in essence the money goes back into the system to provide services and resources to students.”

The new scheme, introduced in October last year, charges students £1 a day for each day the recalled book is not returned.

Students originally borrow books for two weeks but this can be extended to up to a year if no-one else requests the book. Students are allowed to borrow 17 books at a time.

Previously students could be fined a maximum of £10 for an overdue book. This was charged at a rate of 10p per day for a two-week loan and 50p per day for a one or two-day loan.

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