If a library’s success was determined by its income, then Colchester library may be the most successful library in the UK. Already this year Colchester library has made thousands of pounds from members who forget to return their books on time. However, on the flip side, many of Colchester library’s books are never returned.
So far in 2013 Colchester library has claimed £1,599.29 in fines for books, DVDs and CDs that have been returned late. Last year it made £10,542.43 in late fees. While these fees may seem a lot, they hardly cover the cost of a junior library assistant.
The real problem for Colchester is that in January and February 2013, a total of 612 thefts were reported. That is an average of just over 10 items every day. Assuming an average value of £10 per item, if the trend continues throughout the year this will cost Colchester in the region of £36720.
Colchester Library has 23,755 active members. In 2012 a total of 441,630 (average of 36,802 a month) items were borrowed. In January and February 2013 a total of 56,879 items were borrowed (average of 28,439 a month).
In 2012 a total of 2,213 items went missing, was lost or stolen. In the first 2 months of 2013, 612 items went missing.
The maximum fine per borrower is limited to £4.70, which is approximately half the cost of a CD, DVD or small book.
Total Outstanding Library Fines in Essex
As at 19th February 2013 outstanding fines amounted to £113,506.51.
Library Fines Increase?
Libraries are already struggling with the austerity cuts by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition. To break even Colchester library needs to increase fines by around £26,000 a year. The only solution may be to increase the cost of forgetting to return a book.
Of course, as with insurance premiums, the people who will suffer the most are those that are willing to play by the rules, that is those who pay their fines. Maybe an increase in fines will help some people to remember though?
Every time you take an item from a library add a note in a Google calendar for the return date, and set up a notification for a few days before (to give you extra time to read / listen / watch) and another for the day it is due back. Google Calendar is free to use and if you have an Android smartphone the alerts will appear on your phone as well as in email.
Libraries are an excellent resource. Do not take them for granted as they could still be taken away.
- Colchester Central Library, 21 Trinity Square, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1JB
- Tel: 01206 245900
- [email protected]