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Not paying library fines can prevent students from registering for classes

Not returning a library book seems like a small matter but many students are finding out that forgetting about a book can result in holds and fines.

“Students cannot register for classes until all fines are paid,” said registrar Andrea Liner.

By not turning in a library book, students will not be able to borrow any aditional materials from the library and a hold is placed on their account, which doesn’t allow the student to access any transcripts they may need until the fine is paid.

According to Marian Jackson, director of the Tyler Junior College library, the 2009 fall semester resulted in 272 receipts that led to students paying $1,358 for lost and overdue library books. The fines at the TJC library are 25 cents per day per item. However, there is a maximum limit of $10 per item. This system has been in place since 1992 when Jackson came to work at the library.

Many colleges have these types of library fines and some of them are more expensive than the rate at TJC. According to the library Web sites for each of these colleges, the University of North Texas charges 35 cents per day per item and the University of Texas at Austin charges a dollar per day per item. However, some of the maximum charges are extremely high compared to TJC. If a student forgets about a book at Texas A&M-College Station, they can earn up to a $50 maximum per item.

The revenue earned from overdue books, lost books and the microfilm copiers go back into the library budget to help purchase new books and replacement books. However, the money from the paper copiers doesn’t go to the library.

Many students have excuses to try to get out of paying the fines and Jackson said she has heard her share of them since she began working at TJC.

“Two years after I came to TJC, I had a student come up to me and say ‘Well, I turned this book in to you three years ago.’ The student went on to describe the exact outfit I wore that day,” Jackson said. “But that was before I ever came to TJC.”

Jackson said the biggest reason for late books is students procrastinating and forgetting they ever checked the books out.

“Students wait until the last minute to do those assignments and rush to finish them before they have to turn the book back in,” she said.

One unexpected result of late library books are broken friendships.

“Students will come in and argue that they never checked that book out. But what can you say other than well you must have let somebody else use your ID card to check it out,” said Jackson. “If you’re not going to let a friend use your credit card, don’t let them use your ID card.”

Some books never make it back to the library. If the book has still not been turned in after two years, it is considered missing and the library no longer tracks it. As of now the oldest overdue book is World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, which was checked out Sept. 25, 2008.

So the next time one considers checking out a library book, consider the consequences of not turning it in on time.

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