Students given late books rap

Forgetful: Students have forked out almost �100k in late fines at UCLan
Forgetful: Students have forked out almost �100k in late fines at UCLan
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Forgetful students in Preston have helped swell their university’s coffers by almost £100,000.

Last year they shelled out £98,600 in fines for not returning their library books on time, down from £126,000 in 2007-8.

Bosses say the money is ploughed back into the library, which is officially rated among the nation’s best university facilities.

Nationally universities have raised nearly £50m from fining students for overdue library books, figures have revealed.

Top of the pile was Leeds University, which has raised more than £1.8m in the last six years

UCLan charges 10p a day for up to eight days overdue then 50p per day, up to a maximum of £15.

Short loan books not returned on time carry fines of 50p a day for up to eight days and £1 day after that up to a maximum of £20.

Jeremy Andrew, UCLan’s head of library services, said: “Our aim is to provide all our customers with a superlative experience be they students, staff or researchers.

“Therefore the sole purpose of library fines is to prevent individuals from keeping books for unreasonably long periods and so disadvantage others who need to use them.”

He added: “We set the fine rates to make them a deterrent only, and not an opportunity to make money from our customers. All the funds raised from fines are reinvested back into the university library by purchasing more books for the students.

“Before any book becomes overdue we send a courtesy email to the student reminding them to return or renew the book.

“The student can renew books from anywhere in the world using the internet and we will shortly be launching a new service to enable them to renew books from their mobile phones.”

He added that when compared with other universities UCLan’s fine levels are quite low and with 24 hour access it is easy for students to return books promptly.

The university said that overall student satisfaction with services is among the highest in the UK and despite usage of the library increasing, library fines have actually dropped from £126,000 in 2007-8 to £98,600 in 2010/11.

In the 2011 Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey, UCLan was ranked seventh nationally for the quality of its library and opening hours.

It was among the UK’s top 10 high performing modern universities and 41st overall.