Library fines scrapped at Sheffield

The University of Sheffield has scrapped fines for overdue library books in a move to make the loan system fairer and simpler

Library fines have historically been a contentious issue for universities and earlier this year the National Union of Students said it was “incredibly unfair” to prevent students from graduating because of unpaid library fines.

Already named this year as the UK’s top university for student experience, the University’s libraries, including its flagship Information Commons, will become one of the first university library networks in the UK to abolish fines.

Books are now automatically renewed until someone else requests them – then students are given two days to return the book.

If students fail to bring their books back when requested they will not be fined, but won’t be able to take out any more books in the meantime.

Alison Little, Assistant Director of Library Customer Relations, said: “We know our students hate receiving fines, and we’re not keen on giving them either.

“This move will help to make our award-winning the University Library even more welcoming and user friendly for all students.  We hope that our new system will also help to efficiently manage the lending of core text books which are in high demand.

“The system is based on the trust that students will bring the books back when someone else requires them and it has already generated positive feedback from students.”

The University Library was recently crowned Outstanding Library Team at the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards and recognised for the exceptional improvement in student satisfaction by putting the student experience at the heart of the service.

It was praised for the continued investment in the Information Commons and the major refurbishment of the Health Sciences Library earlier this year to improve student learning space.

The University’s Library is also leading the way in revolutionary digital systems, becoming one of the first in the UK to move its management system into the cloud.

Yael Shafritz, President of the University of Sheffield’s Students’ Union, said: ‘Scrapping library fines will create a culture based on trust, as opposed to financial circumstance, we think this is a really positive move.’

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