FOI reveals DCU library owed thousands due to fines

By Conor O'Doherty

DCU library is owed €73,501.89 from students due to fines on late material, as revealed in information secured through a Freedom of Information Act request.

This figure is the highest in all of Dublin’s three universities, with the total approximately €140,000. Trinity College students owe €58,503.05, while UCD students owe €11,363.29.

DCU library however was owed the least amount in fines over the last three years, despite the high fines owed this year, with a total of €157,572 received since 2014.

“We do feel that it is the responsibility of the borrower to be aware of the due dates for their material and to renew/return loans accordingly. Alternatively, they can contact library staff for assistance if they cannot return/renew an item on time,” Shauna McDermott, Public Services Manager at DCU library said.

It is DCU policy that a student will not be allowed to graduate while owing fines to the college, however, while McDermott did not confirm students will not be allowed to graduate, she urged students to pay them.

“Bear in mind that fines are used to ensure as much as possible that books are returned promptly for the benefit of other library users. This is especially important at key times such as exams,” DcDermott said.

A likely cause of this could be a lack of comprehensive understanding of the library rules and loaning system.

Megan Clifford, a third year BSc. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, said she often ends up with fines from simple mistakes.

Clifford said: “I’ve gotten a few fines from the library but that’s just been on account of forgetting I even had books taken out, or mistaking the day material is due back. I know you can’t graduate if you owe a fine which I think is a bit much but they don’t really have any other way of ensuring people pay up, do they?”

Conor O’Doherty

Image: Laura Horan