Harrogate Library is said to have issued fines amounting to about £160,000 since 2011, the highest in North Yorkshire.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that Harrogate Library has issued fines amounting £160,000 from 2011 to-date, making it the highest issuer of fines in North Yorkshire. In 2015 alone, the library has issued fines amounting to £4,000.
Fines issued at Harrogate Library are higher than any other in North Yorkshire.
“Harrogate is the busiest library we have, so it is a reasonable assumption that the busier the library the higher the level of fines,” explained Chrys Mellor, NYCC general manager for libraries.
Fines for overdue books are pegged at 30p a day or part of a day. For up to four days overdue, one would be charged by up to 15p more. While the fine is pegged at 15p a day for children, the fine attracts an extra 25p adult leaders on books overduebeyond four days.
“It is a concern there is a gap between fines issued and fines collected because that is money that could go back into the library budget, but without doing that further piece of research as to what the exact reason for the gap is I can’t say much more,” said Mrs Mellor.
The FOI request further showed that members are charged £2.50 for books overdue for a second week or part of the week. The maximum fine is £7.50 which is chargeable after the fifth week. For children, the fine for the same period increases from 25p to £1.
Comparatively, the total number of library fines issued in 2011 was higher than that done in 2012. In 2011, the library collected £44,486 compared to £39,381 in 2012. Last year, the library issued fines amounting to £36,398 compared to £34,707 in 2013.
“Part of the reason fines have declined is because we send overdue alerts by email and people get them a lot quicker than by post. That does mean we have to find other sources of funding,” explained Mrs Mellor.