Forgetful readers cost county thousands

FORGETFUL book worms cost the county more than �200,000 in the last four years by failing to return borrowed items to Suffolk's libraries, it can be revealed today.

FORGETFUL book worms cost the county more than �200,000 in the last four years by failing to return borrowed items to Suffolk's libraries, it can be revealed today.

However, crafty council bosses have turned the loss into profit by pocketing nearly �700,000 in fines for overdue loans.

Among the more expensive items which were never given back include a Linguaphone Open Learning Course, worth �290.81, and a Makaton parent and carer training pack, valued at �202.10.

The figures can be published following a Freedom of Information request submitted by The Evening Star.

In 2006, the council paid out �52,658.52 in 'bill for replacement' charges - the purchase price of the item.

In 2007, the cost ran to �52,722.42, in 2008 it was �60,334.83 and in 2009, to date, the council has forked out �41,033.37 to replace missing books.

Most Read

However, in 2006/07, a staggering �209,693.33 was received in overdue loan fees, far outweighing the council's outlay on replacement books.

In 07/08, the figure was �203,533.67, in 2008/09 it was �199,179.73 and in 2009/10, to date, fines have totalled �66,508.50.

And because loans can be returned at any time, a proportion of the outstanding material could still be returned.

The items not returned include books, CDs, DVDs, videos, story cassettes, language courses and computer games.

There are 44 libraries and six mobile libraries in Suffolk, offering more than a million books and 50,000 audio/visual titles.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “We very much regret the non return of any loan items.

“Suffolk libraries, as with other library services, makes a charge for overdue loans. The income generated contributes to the annual budget for the library service.

“Charges for overdue loans significantly exceed costs of books that remain to be returned during this period.

“Furthermore, loaned materials can be returned at any time, so it is very likely that a proportion of the outstanding loans, especially those from 2009, will be returned.”

Have you been handed a big library fine for overdue books? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter