Fines and Charges

We only fine you if you return a recalled book or a laptop after the due date/time. A book is recalled when someone else has requested it; laptops are in heavy demand. If people return these late, they are inconveniencing other students and university staff. We'd much rather not charge fines but they are there to encourage considerate use of library resources. If a book has been recalled we will have emailed you a new due date which replaces the original one. We don't charge fines on non-recalled books but we do encourage you to renew or return them on time.

How to avoid fines

  • check your university email every day for emails that tell you your book has been recalled; these are headed Your Library book - Recall and/or Change of due date. We will also email you a Weekly account statement on a Monday which indicates if any of your books are recalled and/or overdue. Make sure emails from library@lancaster.ac.uk go into your Focused inbox.
  • make a note of the time you borrow a laptop; you will start incurring fines if it is not returned within three hours
  • check My Library Account on the library website for due dates/times
  • renew or return your books before they are due back so you get the full period to return them if they are recalled. If a book is overdue, you will start incurring fines the day it is recalled.
  • if you are having a problem returning a book on time, please contact us before it is overdue

More information on Request and Recalls and Renewing your Books.

Fines rates

CategoryFine Per ItemMaximum
Recalled items £2.00 per day from the new recalled due date or from the date of the recall if the book is overdue £10.00
Laptops £1.00 per hour or part hour £20.00


If your fines total more than £10 you will not be able to borrow.

Other library charges

You may incur other charges, eg if a book is very overdue. Please see the information on Lost Books and Replacement charges.

Feel that a fine or charge is unfair?

The Library Rules refer to loans and fines as follows:

5.4 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.

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 or other charge, the Library will take into account factors such as substantiated illnesses or other compassionate circumstances.

If you wish to discuss your fine, please go to the information point on A floor. The staff can explain why you incurred it. If you feel you have a case for not having to pay it, you can email library@lancaster.ac.uk to discuss it with a senior member of staff. If they feel that the fine was incurred fairly in line with library policy but you are unhappy with this decision, you may lodge a formal appeal. This should be made in writing (either by email or letter) to Regina O'Brien (Assistant Director, Operations and User Services). You should explain your case in detail and any extenuating circumstances. An Appeals Committee comprising the Assistant Director 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 to have been unfair for the matter to be heard by the University Dean.

  • Paying fines and other charges

    There are various ways to pay your library fines and other charges.

    Online

    You can pay your fines through 'My Account' on the top menu of Onesearch. Just log into your account then follow the payment instructions on the Fines and Fees button.

    By cash

    at the self-service points in the Library.  The Library cannot process card payments.

    University invoices

    can be paid online through The Lancaster University Payment Portal

  • Lost books and replacement charges

    If you lose or damage a book or other item or it is very overdue, you will be charged for a replacement.

    Replacement charges 

    The following charges may be incurred:

    • Administration charge - £10.00 per item (including VAT)
    • Binding charge - £5.00 per item (including VAT)
    • Replacement cost;
      • in print items - cost of latest edition (paperback if available)
      • out of print items - average cost of new academic textbook in the relevant subject
    • Any outstanding fines

    If a book or other item is more than six weeks overdue (12 weeks during the summer vacation) or you have left the university with outstanding books, you will be invoiced for them as outlined above.  Recalled books and 24 hour loan items will be invoiced when they are two weeks overdue.

    If you tell us you have returned an item that is still on your library account but we cannot find it on the shelves, we will assume it was not returned and invoice you four weeks after you informed us.

    If you subsequently return an invoiced item and we have not yet purchased another copy, the replacement and binding charges are waived. However, you will still need to pay the administration charge and any fines. 

    Can I buy my own replacement copy? 

    If you wish, you can provide us with a new copy of a book yourself rather than pay for a replacement as you may be able to buy a copy more cheaply. However, you must adhere to these conditions:

    • The item must be the same as the title that was lost, stolen or damaged, ie the same author, title, publisher and ISBN (although it is acceptable to replace a hardback with a paperback).If the title is in print, you must provide a new copy of the latest edition (even if the item you are replacing is an older edition).
    • If the title is out of print, you can replace it with a second hand copy of the same edition or a later one. It must be unmarked internally (eg no annotations or highlighting) and be in an 'as new' or 'excellent' condition.
    • You will still have to pay the binding charge if your replacement copy is a paperback, the administration charge and any fines. 

    The library reserves the right to refuse to accept an item if it does not fit the conditions above and to invoice you for a replacement. Please contact us at library@lancaster.ac.uk or tel: +44 (0) 1524 592516 before buying a replacement if you have any concerns about whether it will be acceptable.