Trinity’s libraries will waive fines on overdue books for a two-week period, to encourage students to return books that may not have been fitted with new microchips along with the rest of its collection.
Fines on overdue books will be waived if the books are returned between today and Saturday, February 29th. An email was sent to students today detailing the temporary amnesty.
Over the course of last semester, over half a million books in the libraries were fitted with new microchips in a bid to improve security and allow staff to track them more easily.
Speaking to The University Times, Peter Dudley, the sub-librarian for reading room services and space and readers’ services, said that waiving fines is also a way to alleviate financial pressures on students who owe fines.
He added that the waiving of fines will be a once-off event and there are currently no plans to introduce a similar initiative in the future. Fines on overdue books, he said, “play a role and helps the books to circulate properly”.
The waiver will be limited to materials currently on loan, and will not apply to fines or charges associated with books that have already been returned.
The fitting of new microchips to books in the library was part of a €350,000 project that also saw the installation of new self-service checkout machines. The old machines have been replaced in all of the libraries, in a move that also saw the installation of a new model in the John Stearne Medical Library in St James’s Hospital, which previously did not have a self-service checkout machine.
Last semester, in response to overcrowding issues in the run-up to exams, the libraries controversially ran a campaign to prevent the practice of “desk hogging”. A team of students, mostly postgraduates, were employed to monitor desk spaces in the weeks before the Christmas exam period.
The monitors left notes on desks that appeared to be unoccupied but had possessions such as books and laptops on them, informing the “desk hogger” that if they did not reclaim the space within 60 minutes, their belongings would be removed.
In 2018, the library’s system for borrowing and renewing books from Trinity’s library underwent an extensive overhaul in a bid to make library books more accessible for students.
Undergraduate students can now borrow up to 10 general lending books at a time, for a period of four weeks before renewal. Undergraduate borrowing rights were previously limited to a maximum of four books at once, with a loan period of one week.