As students worry about finals and the hectic atmosphere the holiday season brings, they also have to be wary of the books they check out of Park Library – or face paying a fine.
From 2012-2013, more than 66,000 materials were checked out of the library, and fines are a way to ensure that they return. Associate Dean of Libraries Kathy Irwin said the library collected $28,792 in fines and $13,670 in lost book payments from June 2012 – July 2013.
Library fines are not about the money, according to Irwin, rather to ensure that materials are returned so others have the opportunity to use them.
“We want to make sure that students have an equal access to the materials and that we are taking care of the university property,” Irwin said.
Undergraduate students can check out a book for 28 days and can renew the book up to five times. However, if another student wants a book, a hold is placed so that the material cannot be renewed.
“We have tried to make the policies generous so that students don’t get into a bind,” Irwin said.
A week before a book is due, borrowers receive a courtesy notice. Once the book is past due, if the borrower returns the book in two weeks, they are fined $5. Three weeks after the due date, students are charged $20. However, if the book is never returned, a $15 fee plus the price of the book is charged.
Breckenridge sophomore Aubree Jenkins said she thinks the fine system works well.
“College kids tend to be really busy or really lazy,” Jenkins said. ”If someone that lives off campus forgot that they had to turn their book in today to avoid a fine, my best guess is that they’d rather pay the $5 fine then come back to campus to turn it in.”
Livonia senior Natalie Polakowski said that although she thinks the system is fair, the prices of the fines are high, especially for college students living on limited funds.
“I completely understand that they need to replace lost books, but we as student pay so much for our tuition, so it seems silly to be making that much in fines if the book is eventually returned,” Polakowski said.
Irwin believes the fine system that is currently in place is one that works well. It keeps students accountable for the books they check out.
Despite some students receiving fines, Irwin said if students are responsible for the books they check out, a fine is easily avoidable.
“Whether you get a fine or not comes down to the user who checked it out and what choices they make,” Irwin said. “No one should have to get a fine.”