Hefty overdue fines drain students
Posted Dec. 8, 2006

Without a doubt, the most hectic time of the year for students drops in at the end of the semester.

And this December, while students are now praying for “the most wonderful time of the year,” finals and the hassles of registration are piling high and leaving hardly any room to breathe.

A 10-page research paper in anthropology due Wednesday, a video project due Tuesday, biology lab's due tomorrow and, of course, a final in every class.

Many students can probably relate to such an insane schedule. Oh and don’t forget to register on Thursday. Between all this chaos, students find time to register for classes on MyULV.

But a moment after they click the “submit” button, a notice of a massive unpaid bill appears holding up registration.

The cause: overdue University of La Verne library book fines. The books were checked out weeks ago and while students were typing away for this week of agony they forgot to return them despite the multiple e-mails sent to remind them.

And at $1 per book per day in fines, the accumulated figure can be catastrophic. While students are crying from the financial punishment, the library is hoping they just learned a lesson.

The overdue book fine changed a year-and-a-half ago from 25 cents, and is still driving students up the wall.

However unfair the library may seem, high fines are nothing new to library policies. The fine is not in place to make money or to be affordable – the fine is to act as an incentive to turn in books on time, say library officials.

Just like reckless driving on the freeway will land you a hefty ticket from a police officer, overdue books will stump you with a fine from the circulation desk.

Although students and the word “affordable” don’t seem to come hand-in-hand these days, a little more leniency on these fines would be nice. Students have a great deal on their plate, and not just the financial stresses, but workloads from school and work are simple explanations for late books.

Compared with local public libraries, ULV’s fine is Mount Everest. Even though these fines are not meant to be compared because they serve different purposes, the differences are hard to ignore and their consequences seem far less.

The La Verne Public Library will charge 25 cents per book, per day for adults and children’s book at 10 cents. The Pomona Public Library holds lenders to 25 cents for books and 50 cents for audio.

Complaining about the many seemingly useless fines institutions charge is nothing new. Every action has a consequence and students have to pay the price just like any other situation.

The biggest concern of these fines added to a student’s bill is the hindrance to register. Getting shut out of a class because you didn’t have the $100 to compensate for belated books can be beyond frustrating, especially now.

The cost of this fine is a balancing act: small fine, less effective and high fine, a damaging lesson.

We understand the library needs some kind of liability to have books returned, but consider each student when judging what is and is not affordable. For one student, $1 per book, per day is chump change, and for the other it could mean Top Ramen for two weeks.

All we ask is that if the students try to be more diligent, the library reflect on the individual student and how a big fine to pay could be more than annoying and consequential, but stressful and damaging.

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