We asked KCL students how much they’ve contributed to the £385K our libraries have made

Making cash isn’t so hard


Returning books can be an ordeal. We’re all guilty of sometimes forgetting to hand in that text we borrowed last year and it seems that KCL is most notorious for doing just that.

We reported earlier this month that King’s made a staggering £388,602.06 over the past three academic years in library fees alone. That’s enough money to buy 388 iPhone Xs with enough change left over for an iPhone 8 and a coffee.

We took to the streets to hear students how much they’ve owed the library and whether they think King’s is doing a good enough job on investing the money and whether they've learned their lesson…

Adam Kamarul, 2nd year, Electrical Engineering with Management

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£20

"I had a one week loan, which I kept on renewing. Sometimes though things can quickly get on top of each other! I ended up owing a bit of money in the end…"

Miguel Castro Andre, Second Year, Classical Studies and Comparative Literature

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£20

"My issue was that I took a short loan, where you rent a book out for 24 hours. The books which I need however take far longer to read than just a day. They also didn't tell me when I was supposed to return it – no email, nothing. I went to reception and said I won’t pay it: they were very understanding of my situation but I still feel a bit swindled they didn’t tell me that it was due…"

Owen Boed, 2nd Year, Politics, Philosophy and Economics

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£70

"Pretty closed book situation really – I needed some books for an essay, I didn’t manage to return them on time and some pretty big debts accrued because of it!"

Georgia Evans, Second Year, History

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£30

"I didn’t bring a book back and they sent out an email saying that I needed to renew or return it but to be honest it was only one email – it's not enough. It's a bit ridiculous that the overdue fee system is in place anyway because they earn enough money as it is!"

Jake Alistair, Second Year, Liberal Arts

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£2

"Just general forgetfulness really. There are a limited number of certain textbooks on my course but some are very popular because they're integral to certain modules. When I managed to get hold of one I held on to it and just forgot to renew it! 2 pounds isn't much to cry about though to be honest."

Rhian Powell, Second Year, History

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£2

"It was Christmas break and I left my books with a friend. He ended up taking them back late! The library didn’t tell me that I needed to return a book though and I wasn’t even told that it was returned in the end! Not the best system especially seeing as if you do end up in large amount of debt, students can’t really afford it anyway."

Anastasia and Rebecca, 1st Year Postgrads, Philosophy

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0p and 60p

Rebecca: "Cambridge has a 4 day grace period system at the college that I was at. They would also send regular updates as to when and where you needed to return or renew books. Here, I have heard they are not to good!"

Anastasia: "At the Panteion University in Greece where I used to study, they don’t have fines for late books! This is because they understand that for students we already don’t have that much money. I think it's a much better system for students, seeing as they recognise that students might find it hard to gather the money to repay any debts."

Tanita Allinson, 2nd Year, Philosophy

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£100

"It was Summer of this year and I had been working full time in Peckham. I had completely forgot that I'd rented a book out before the end of term; it just wasn’t on my mind. I also had work experience and a resit I was preparing for, as well as having to book time off my normal work to do a different job on the side. I've given them all back now but I still have to get the fine down to £20 before I can rent another book out."

After these conversations, it definitely feels like King's might have some room for improvement on keeping students up to date with upcoming late fees.

Some simple automated emails reminding students about upcoming deadlines every day in the last four days of a rental notice might be all it takes for students to stop taking such big hits on their student loans just to pay back the library for forgetting to return a textbook. How do you think King's could lower late book returns?