University of Sheffield becomes one of the first in the UK to scrap library fines

The University of Sheffield has scrapped fines for overdue library books in a pioneering move to make the loan system fairer and more efficient for students.

Library fines abolishedLibrary fines have historically been a contentious issue for universities and earlier this year the National Union of Students said it was “incredibly unfair” to prevent students from graduating because of unpaid library fines.

Already named this year as the UK's top university for student experience, the University’s libraries, including its flagship Information Commons, will become one of the first university library networks in the UK to abolish fines.

Books are now automatically renewed until someone else requests them – then students are given two days to return the book.

If students fail to bring their books back when requested they will not be fined, but won’t be able to take out any more books in the meantime.

Alison Little, Assistant Director of Library Customer Relations, said: “We know our students hate receiving fines, and we’re not keen on giving them either.

“This innovative move will help to make our award-winning the University Library even more welcoming and user friendly for all students. We hope that our new system will also help to efficiently manage the lending of core text books which are in high demand.

“The system is based on the trust that students will bring the books back when someone else requires them and it has already generated positive feedback from students.”

The University Library was recently crowned Outstanding Library Team at the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards and recognised for the exceptional improvement in student satisfaction by putting the student experience at the heart of the service.

It was praised for the continued investment in the Information Commons and the major refurbishment of the Health Sciences Library earlier this year to improve student learning space.

The University’s Library is also leading the way in revolutionary digital systems, becoming one of the first in the UK to move its management system into the cloud.

Yael Shafritz, President of the University of Sheffield’s Students’ Union, said: "Scrapping library fines will create a culture based on trust, as opposed to financial circumstance, we think this is a really positive move."

Additional information

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The University of Sheffield
With almost 26,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.
A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.
In 2014 it was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.
Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Amy Pullan
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859