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Jessica Cripps explains how it’s not all doom and gloom in the University of Bristol libraries.

In news that made all stressed students jump for joy, the library service has decided to stop fining late books. A new loan system of one-day and seven-day loans has also been introduced in the hope of a speedy turnaround, and dissertation students in particular may rejoice to hear that the number of books a student can have out at any one time has increased to forty.

The best news of all, however, is that anyone with outstanding fines has had them cleared (hooray!).

 

Growing dissatisfaction among students about increasing fees and extortionate accommodation costs has led to a general opinion that the University of Bristol is cashing in on an earnest desire to learn. Fines on library books – from as little as a few pence to a cracking accumulated £50 – has often been regarded as the University further profiting from studies.

Students waking up to realise that library fines have been cleared have since been celebrating the news. A third year English student said, “I had a £30 fine cleared, so I’m very pleased with the new system.”

The Library Service will only impose fines when a book has been requested by another student

Meanwhile, a final year History student said, “It’s great. How could no library fines ever be anything but good? [Fines] are only imposed when someone else asks for the book. Seems like a win-win.”

As demand for core texts remain high, particularly when essay deadlines loom, the Library Service will only impose fines when a book has been requested by another student, and the loan-holder fails to return it on time.

This has been met with general agreement from students who are concerned about the incentives for returning high-demand books being lost. A final year psychology student commented that “I grew up going to the library every Sunday with my mum. I learnt about library rules and fines. I wouldn’t expect any less than to adhere to those rules. Especially when borrowing books for free.”

Another psychology student agreed. “I feel like from a financial perspective every little helps, but I also feel that people may need to manage their time. If you take out a book you should use it in that time you’ve been allocated.”

While the (unconfirmed) rumours that a student will be excluded from graduating should they fail to pay their library fines before course completion are not necessarily irrelevant, it is hard to see the new system negatively.

It speaks with an earnest hope that there will be no hoarding of library books as the term progresses.

Criticism that the new system has not been explained clearly has been combatted by the distribution of bookmarks throughout the university. The new library system is clearly laid out in bullet points, and an advertising campaign has been launched on the electronic message boards across campus.

A certain degree of trust has been offered between our librarians and ourselves. It speaks with an earnest hope that there will be no hoarding of library books as the term progresses. Hopefully Bill and Ben – the ASSL book return machines – will still see the return of hundreds of books daily.


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