Exclusive by Lauren Everitt
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
FORGETFUL readers who failed to return books to Suffolk’s libraries have racked up unpaid fines of more than £115,000 in the past three financial years.
Figures released following a Freedom of Information request show that Suffolk’s library service is owed £115,247.72 from users who have not paid their debts since 2008/09.
The top library with outstanding library fines is Lowestoft with £12,695.55 owed, while Ipswich County came in a close second with £12,586.96.
The other libraries in the top five are Bury with £11,199.98, while Stowmarket is owed £3,728.53 and Haverhill has £3,563.20 outstanding.
However the number of books being brought back late has more than halved in recent years, with £41,033.37 owed in fines in 2008/09 compared to £19,318.25 in 2009/10 and £13,862.73 the following financial year.
A Suffolk County Council spokesman said; “Library users have been able to sign up to receive a warning by text or email a few days before their loans become overdue, which significantly helps people to keep on top of renewal dates.
“It has also been made easier for people to manage their accounts online, without needing to visit a library.
“More people are borrowing ebooks, too, which delete themselves from the borrower’s device at the end of the loan period.”
As of December there were 11,989 overdue loans which have not yet been returned, including items ranging from just one day overdue to long overdue items.
The Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) became responsible for the management of Suffolk’s 44 libraries last August, taking over from Suffolk County Council.