KU libraries made £123,000 from unreturned books and laptops since 2014

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KU is raking in money from library fines, despite the numbers of unreturned books going down after the LRC’s new renewal system.

The KU libraries have earned nearly £123,000 on fines for unreturned books and laptops since 2014, according to figures from the BBC.

The figures showed that London universities have received millions of money on library fines the last three years, but that the amount of money they make has fallen each academic year.

Fashion student Lydia Arnold, 20, who was fined £40 for handing in her library books too late, said: “I got an e-mail saying that due to not returned items I had been fined.”

She was initially fined £10 for unreturned books, but as she often forgets to check her university e-mail, it went up to £40 after three more notices.

“It’s kind of put me off using the library to be honest,” Arnold said. “It’s confusing because they don’t have a limit on when you need to return them, you can just keep them for a year and it won’t matter, but I think these books were on high demand.”

According to a Library spokeswoman, the number of students being fined has gone down at KU because of the new renewal system that the LRC introduced last September.

A Kingston spokeswoman said: “In 2015/16, the University changed its policy on library fines. When a book has reached its due date it is automatically renewed if it has not been requested by another library user. This change has led to a significant drop in the number of fines levied and collected.”

However, several students have been charged for handing laptops in too late.

Media and communications student Hannah Melhuish, 22, said: “I was very annoyed because it says they will charge you £5 every 30 minutes if you bring a laptop back too late, but I got charged by handing it back 10 minutes too late.

“It took me a long time to pay it back because of that and they were spamming me with e-mails every day to pay”.

Pharmacy student Mwenya Chile, 19, who was fined £5 twice for not handing laptops back in time said: “: “It was a bit shocking because I was only like 30 seconds or a minute or so too late. It wasn’t like I wasn’t going to return it.”

Fine Arts student Ben Darby, 21, said: “A few weeks back my laptop died on me. This was where KU loans was a godsend, being able to borrow laptops, unfortunately for only 4 hours at a time.”

“After one week of the same routine of borrowing and returning, my dissertation group seminar ran a bit over its appointed time. This caused me to hand the laptop in 10 minutes late which unfairly gave me a £10 fine.”

Nutrition student Khatra Sardari, 21, said she had not yet paid off her £5 fine for a computer being handed in too late and that although she was getting e-mails from the library every week asking for her to pay, she would not pay it until she was forced to to.

Biomedical Science student Zahara Osman, 20, said: “When I found out that I had to pay the fine, I told myself that I wasn’t going to pay until I graduate, and this was first year.”

The UK spokeswoman said: “All money they received in fines is ploughed back into resources and support for learning and teaching.”

The University also said the LRC is doing its best to remind students to return books on time to avoid fines.

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