NOK 1 million in library fines

University of Oslo Library. Photo:

University of Oslo Library. Photo:

Students who borrow books at the libraries at the University of Oslo paid more than one million kroner in fees in 2009. The board of the libraries hopes that an increase of fees will make the students less forgetful.

The money consists of both fees and compensation amounts, and the number has been fairly stable during the last few years. The university library has this year increased the fee on the first dun from 20 to 40 kroner, this to increase the circulation of books.

“I hope this will lead to fewer duns, says Randi Rønningen, assistant library director at the University of Oslo.

The loan period is four weeks by most of the university libraries, and the first dun will normally be sent out immediately after the loan period is up.

High fees

Siri Nerbø is a student of sign language and interpretation at the University of Oslo. She thinks the fee arrangement works out ok, and that people should pay if the books are not returned on time.

“It is important to return the books within the time limit. It´s really annoying to have to wait for a book that hasn´t been returned on time. I´m currently standing in line for several books. If the increased fees help, then that´s good. But 40 kroner might be a bit of a high fee, says Nerbø.

She is one of the students who personally experienced the increase of the fees, after forgetting to check her student inbox.

More expensive

Rønningen says working with the fines costs more than the amount the fines bring in. Therefore she would rather be without them.

“The most important thing for us is that the books are returned so that others can borrow them, too. We want a circulation of the books and we want as many people as possible to make use of the books we have bought,” says Rønningen.

Fredrik Hovind Juell, consultant at the library for the humanities and social science at UiO, uses much of his time at work working on the fees and compensation claims when books disappear. He says that this time could have been spent on other tasks.

“This is expensive for the loaner, and it is expensive for us. It would be best if we didn´t have to spend time on this,” says Juell.

Long waiting lines

In some cases, the loaners on waiting lists for books have to prepare themselves for waiting a while. A week passes between each dun is sent out, and if it ends up with a claim for compensation, it might take several months.

“In cases of claims for compensation, much time can pass from the first dun to the time when a new book is available for new loaners. As much time as three months might pass, and by then the exams may be over or the deadline for an essay might have run out, says Rønningen.

Money from compensation claims summed up to 562 000 kroner of the large million in 2009. The smallest compensation amount is 700 kroner, but the amount can increase quickly if the missing book is valuable and experience.

“Compensation claims is not something we want to carry out, but like most other libraries we have found out that the practice helps us to get the book,” says Rønningen.

Source: Universitas

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