Library Fines at UK’s Leeds University Total More than $2.7 Million!

A new report in The Leeds Student at Leeds University in the UK delves into the apparently profitable world of library fines.

As it begins, “In the last six academic years, a staggering £1.8m has been raked in. . . . With fines as little as 10p a day per book, it seems that students are returning thousands of books late each year. But many are never returned– more than 300,000 books nationally are unaccounted for.”

OK, now read the opening part again.  Truly.  Think about the amount it mentions.  According to XE Currency Converter, that equates to $2.78 million.  In library fines.  At one school.  In only six years.

Bottom line: It’s time to hit the library.

Questions for a Related Report

How much money does your school net from library fines?  Where does the money go?  How much have fine amounts increased over the years, and how are those types of decisions made?  What are the most exorbitant charges that students have racked up from overdue books?  How many books are checked out each year?  Which books are most often taken out, and returned late?  And how many books are simply never returned, and what is the process for deciding whether to replace them?

Multimedia Options

1) Spend some time photographing or video recording the library clerks at work, zooming in on their dealings with students paying fines or returning books late.  2) Create an interactive click-through graphic breaking down the fine process, the money it brings in, and what the money is used for.

Offbeat Option

Tell the story of a single book that is particularly prone to late renewals or returns.  Find out when and how the library first purchased it and how it was cataloged and stocked.  See if you can track down some of the students who most recently checked it out to get their takes on what they used it for, why they may have been lax in getting it back on time, and whether the extra time was worth the fine.  Also speak with library staffers, framing their perspectives on that single book within a wider-lens glimpse at why students return books late, the most common ways students try to get out of paying fines, and what ultimately sways staffers to waive fines.

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