Library users in Sheffield rack up nearly £60,000 in fines - much of which goes unpaid

Libraries are holding a fines amnesty.
Libraries are holding a fines amnesty.
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Library users in Sheffield racked up almost £60,000 in fines last year - many of which went unpaid.

Borrowers ran up a total bill of £57,324 last year for overdue books, DVDs and other items, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.

More than 17,000 of fines were accrued by borrowers at Sheffield Central Library last year

More than 17,000 of fines were accrued by borrowers at Sheffield Central Library last year

But just £43,049 was paid during that period, which is only about three quarters of the full amount owed.

It was, unsurprisingly, Sheffield Central Library where the most fines were issued, with users there billed a total of £17,475 during 2017/18.

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Ecclesall Library was easily next on the list, with borrowers there amassing fines of £6,762 last year, while Crystal Peaks took third place, with £3,065 in fines accrued.

Borrowers are racking up less in library fines than they were in 2015/16, when the total bill came to £63,091.

But this may have more to do with a general fall in library visitor numbers in Sheffield over recent years, mirroring the national trend, than users returning items more promptly.

Interestingly, the proportion of fines being paid two years ago was markedly higher than today, at more than 84 per cent.

READ MORE: Library visits in decline across Sheffield, but one branch is bucking the trend

Sheffield Council said it was unable to provide figures for the highest amount in fines accrued by individual users.

Borrowers who fail to return books on time are fined 20p per book for each day that library is open, up to a maximum of £5 per book plus postal charges.

For DVDs and CDs, a fine equivalent to the initial loan charge is levied for each week or part-week the item is overdue, up to a maximum of £10.

HOW MUCH ARE PEOPLE BEING FINED?

Library: amount billed (amount paid)

Archives: £2.60 (£2.40)
Broomhill: £2,476.00 (£1,971.85)
Burngreave: £875.40 (£530.60)
Chapeltown: £2,775.40 (£2,341.95)
Central Lending: £17,475.24 (£13,036.03)
Crystal Peaks: £3,064.60 (£2,351.36)
Central Childrens: £1,277.30 (£758.05)
Darnall: £1,477.70 (£1,055.80)
Ecclesfield: £324.00 (£249.60)
Ecclesall: £6,762.20 (£5,605.80)
Firth Park: £2,651.10 (£1,587.30)
Frecheville: £433.80 (£348.60)
Gleadless: £350.60 (£289.40)
Greenhill: £971.93 (£785.68)
Hillsborough: £2,464.70 (£1,971.95)
Highfield: £2,692.30 (£1,873.52)
Home: £74.80 (£72.20)
Jordanthorpe: £184.00 (£110.40)
Local Studies: £12.60 (£11.60)
Manor: £1,701.80 (£1,256.31)
Newfield Green: £221.40 (£163.20)
Park: £356.90 (£257.25)
Parson Cross: £876.80 (£657.70)
Reference: £490.10 (£315.89)
Stocksbridge: £1,401.00 (£1,108.95)
Stannington: £499.30 (£383.50)
Southey: £309.8 (£239.50)
Tinsley: £23.00 (£13.00)
Totley: £1,457.40 (£1,125.55)
Upperthorpe: £919.20 (£564.50)
Walkley: £682.00 (£492.20)
Woodhouse: £745.00 (£652.10)
Weston Park: £2.00 (£2.00)
Woodseats: £1,275.30 (£846.60)
Inter-library loans: £16.40 (£16.40)

* figures are for 2017/18