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City libraries earn £170 in fines every day
Libraries in Brighton and Hove collected an average of almost £170 in fines nearly every day last year.
The fines relate to books, DVDs and CDs that have not been returned on time and cost library users 20p for every day the item borrowed is overdue.
In total libraries in the city including Jubilee, Moulsecoomb, Hove and Portslade earned £61,554 in fines in just 12 months.
Figures were not available for previous years.
Despite the amount raised, just two people complained about the fines they received. One woman who complained after receiving a library fine said she was “shocked she could be charged for overdue books as she had not been told this could happen”, a Freedom of Information request revealed. This fine was subsequently waived.
The request said: “[The library] apologised for not having been informed of fees – current fines have now been waived.”
A second woman complained because she said she had in fact returned the books on time.
However, according to the Freedom of Information request, it emerged this was not the case and several books had been handed in late.
The fine in this case had to be paid.
Using the money accrued in fines, the city council could have bought 18 copies of the year’s best-selling novel My Autobiography by Alex Ferguson every day for a year which is valued at £9 on Amazon – and still had cash left over.
But instead the money goes towards supporting the overall budget of the city’s libraries.
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “Income from fines helps support the overall library budget.
“Staff have the ability to waive fines in extenuating circumstances.”
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