College is owed €67,920.91 in library fines, Trevor Peare, head of Readers’ Services, has confirmed. The figure was cited in a recent Irish Independent investigation revealing that approximately €800,000 in total is owed in library fines to universities and colleges around Ireland.
Speaking to Trinity News, Peare emphasised that overdue fines are an “avoidable expense.” He highlighted the importance of library fines in order to persuade people to return items on time, ensuring dependable availability dates for other borrowers.
Nine years ago, the library introduced a “gentle reminder” email, which is sent to students two days before the book’s return date. This has given students a greater opportunity to avoid overdue fines and has made a significant impact in reducing the amount of library fines.
Progressive fines mean that the overdue charge for standard loans increases from €0.50 per item, per day to €1 per day after two weeks. However, the library has also made changes to loan periods. For example, nursing students, who are often on placement, can now borrow books for a month at a time.
If a student’s library fines exceed €15 they are unable to renew books online or borrow further books from the library. Students with overdue books or outstanding fines will not have their degrees conferred.
College does not currently charge fines to staff for overdue books. According to Peare, the library tried to raise fines for staff but this was strongly opposed at the time. However in recent years, sanctions have been introduced and staff members with overdue books are unable to request items from stacks or to borrow further material.
However, Peare was keen to emphasise that students who have difficulty paying fines or returning books should contact the library. “One thing we don’t want is someone to be afraid to come into the library because of a fine,” he said.