FOI reveals drop in fines paid to DCU libraries

Emily Sheahan

The amount paid in library fines across the DCU Glasnevin and St Patrick’s libraries decreased by over €6,700 from 2016/2017 to 2017/2018.

A Freedom of Information request showed that the amount paid in fines decreased from €60,608.21 in 2016/17 to €53,822.72 in 2017/18. This is a decrease of €6,785.49, or 11.2 per cent.

DCU Director of Library Services Christopher Pressler said that the fines are re-absorbed into the library’s “non pay budget to pay for costs such as book, journals, and eresrouces”.

Both libraries, as well as the online resources, saw decreases in fines. The John & Aileen O’Reilly Library on the DCU Glasnevin campus saw a decrease of 20.4 per cent, with the fines dropping from €26,657.67 in 2016/17 to €21,214.02 the following year.

The Cregan Library on the DCU St Patrick’s campus saw their fines drop from €15,408.74 to €14,099.8, an 8.5 per cent decrease.

The online fines fell from €18,541.8 to €18,508.9. This was a decrease of 0.18 per cent.

Overdue one week loans and three week loans are charged at 50 cent per day. Overdue short term 48 hour loans are charged at 50 cent per hour. Overdue DVDs see fines of €2 per day.

Borrowing restrictions are imposed if a person has charges exceeding €10 on their account, or where charge of any amount has been in the account for a longer than one month. Long term loans can be renewed, short term ones cannot.

Library fines can be paid online, but only if the fine is €5 or above.

Politics and Media student Rebecca Breene McDonnell said the “fines are far too steep”. McDonnell once paid a €60 fine to the O’Reilly Library.

She was also charged with another €35 fine, but it was written off. “I was really sick so I wasn’t around to bring another one back so they wrote the fine off for me because I emailed them the circumstances”.

“Most students would bring the book back if it capped at €5 I’m sure,” she said. “There’s no need to be charging €60 for a book being two or three days late”.  

DCU undergraduate students and alumni can borrow up to 14 items at a time. Taught postgraduates, research postgraduates, Open Education students, and staff can take out up to 20 items at a time. Alumni cannot take out short term loans.

All items on loan from the libraries are subject to be recalled at any times.

DCU O’Reilly and Cregan libraries were unavailable for comment.

Emily Sheahan

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