Policy on fines and appeals

1. Fines 

The Library Rules refer to loans and fines as follows: 

A user who fails to return a book when requested to do so by the Library shall be liable to a fine which will increase with time. The rate of fines is determined and published by the Library. 

Why does the Library charge fines?

Fines are an incentive for Library users to return books on time, so that books and other items may be circulated fairly and effectively among all those who need to use them. 

We would prefer that Library users did not incur fines. However, when fines are incurred, it is important that the Library applies them fairly to all. We have duties towards you; you have responsibilities to the Library and to your fellow Library Users. 

The Library will undertake to: 

  • Indicate clearly the date (and time, where applicable) when your library book is due.
  • Send recall notices promptly, if another Library user requests an item which is on loan to you. The recall notice will normally recall the book for the seventh day after the date of the notice, unless the item is already due before the seventh day. Notices to members of the University will be sent to University email addresses only. Notices to External Borrowers will be sent to the email address which you supply.
  • Make available to you the facility for checking your own loans record at a self-service point or in My Library Account on the library website.
  • Make available facilities for you to self-renew most items on a self-issue machine or in My Library Account on the library website. We will also renew items by telephone. Items can be renewed remotely up to the maximum renewal date. Please see the renewals page for information on when you cannot renew items.
  • Send you a weekly statement of your Library account, showing the due dates of all items which you currently have on loan. Notices are sent by email only. However, this is a service, and not an obligation.

When you, as a Library user, borrow a book, you undertake to: 

  • Return or renew the item by the due date, or by the new due date given if the book is recalled from you. (For High Demand items, you undertake to return the item by the date and time indicated at the time of issue.)
  • Ensure that your items are available at all times, should they be recalled by another borrower. This means that if you go away for any reason you are responsible for ensuring that your items are still available.
  • Check your email or borrower record regularly, in case any items have been recalled from you.
  • Pay any fines incurred on the late return of any requested or High Demand items. 

2. Application of Fines policy 

The Library will endeavour to apply its fines policy uniformly, equally and fairly. Fines may be waived or reduced where exceptional circumstances apply. In considering whether to cancel or reduce a fine the Library will take into account factors such as substantiated illnesses or other compassionate circumstances. Notes will be kept of the circumstances, with copies of any independent verification or supporting statements. 

Fines incurred through direct Library error will always be waived. 

For details of when fines or a compensation order may be imposed, see para. 5 of the Rules of the Library.

3. Appeals procedure 

There may be occasions when you feel that a fine has been incurred unfairly, or when you may wish to discuss circumstances which you feel should mitigate the fine. In such cases you should ask to speak to a senior member of User Services staff as soon as possible. If you would prefer to discuss your case in confidence, please ask, and we will be happy to arrange for this. 

The senior member of staff will make a decision as to whether or not the fine should be paid. If it is decided that the fine has been incurred fairly and should be paid, you will be given the reasons for this. 

If you still feel that you should not have to pay the fine, you may lodge a formal appeal. This should be made in writing (either by email or letter) to Liz Hartley, (Assistant Librarian - Operations and Services), explaining your case in detail and any extenuating circumstances. An Appeals Committee comprising the Deputy Director of Library Services or other authorised person and two other senior members of Library staff (but not including the member of staff who made the original decision) will normally consider this within seven days. 

You have a further right where you consider the Procedure adopted by the Appeals Committee (referred to above) to have been unfair for the matter to be heard by the University Dean.