London universities make £3 million from your library fines 💸
Fines up to millions. Source: Shutterstock

21 universities, 3 academic years, £3,030,128.11 worth of library fines.

London universities have collectively made millions from their students’ misdemeanours with their institutions’ libraries. Top of the list is King’s College London with £388,602.06 accrued, according to the BBC, followed by Middlesex University, University of Greenwich, University College London and University of the Arts London rounding up the top five.

KCL says its library resources are in “heavy demand” and  the fines “ensure” the books are returned.

“To help avoid charging fines, the due date is made clear, email reminders are issued before books are due back and there are various ways of renewing or returning books 24 hours a day,” a spokeswoman said.

“Library staff also have the discretion to waive fines in mitigating circumstances,” she said, adding that the thousands received via fines are “reinvested”.

University of Westminster sits on the opposite end of spectrum, with £0 in library fines collected since the “1990s”.

Bottom of the table is the University of Westminster, which says it has not received a penny in library fines since the “1990s”, choosing instead to “block” students from borrowing books for a period of time.

A spokeswoman for the university said: “Our rationale is that suspending library lending for a period that matches any overdue borrowing is a more equitable way to encourage good library habits.”

London School of Economics (LSE) also said it stopped issuing fines in August 2014.

Overall, as more resources go online, the total dough the 21 schools received had gone down from £1,236,545.86 in 2014 to £779,247.09 in 2016/17.

‘Not workable’

For the National Union of Students (NUS), fining students this exorbitant amounts is simply “not workable” and adds to the financial strains of students.

“In many cases, institutions have prevented students with accommodation arrears or library fines from obtaining their degree or enrolling for their next year of student,” Izzy Lenga, NUS vice-president for welfare said.


“They must find solutions to students repaying [non-academic] debt as the current system is not workable for the university or the student,” Lenda said.

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