Student finance can be a tough one, so when your bills are coming in and your rent is due, library fines are the last thing on your mind, and yet you can’t graduate with fines on your library account. Nightmare! Never fear; the library book amnesty is here! New kid on the block Jodie Avo took a look at how the amnesty will help those scatterbrained students who just can’t seem to keep track of their library books…

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. We wake up one morning, look at the pile of books we have lying around our room and then we spot it. The library book. More specifically, the late library book.

The fines that we incur can be a real bugbear. For long loans it’s 20p per day. One week loans are 50p per day. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? So we say ‘ah I’ll take it in tomorrow’. Of course, from personal experience, tomorrow never comes. Next thing we know we’ve got a ten pound fine and it can no longer be ignored.

Fear not, fellow students. Thanks to Education Officer Luke James and Swansea’s LIS, from Tuesday the 22nd to Thursday 24th of February, the library will be holding a book amnesty. What does this mean? In short, you take your overdue books back, and any overdue fines on those items get wiped. Not bad, eh? So if you’ve got any overdue books then this would be the perfect time to take them back. The library isn’t concerned about the fines; they just want their books back so do it, do it, do it!

It’s the first time I’ve ever known the library to perform a book amnesty, so I would take full advantage of this rare occurrence. I talked to my friend Emma and she said that, “I think students have a lot of stress on them and forgetting books is very easy so I think it’s good that some debt could be written off. Financial worries are present throughout uni so to have a little aid is fantastic.”

Take me for example. I’m always ending up with fines. All the time! I take out the books and then I just plain forget about them. It’s not even like I take out a lot of them. It can even just be one. I’m the person who wakes up in the morning and sees that book, staring up at me from my bag, glaring at me.

So how do students like me and Len (who told me she’s always getting fines! “I just pay them off until they’re under the £10 mark and pretend they don’t exist!” she said.) manage to incur fines time and time again? On the 4th of January, the library increased the borrow limit for students. Undergraduates may now borrow up to fifteen books and Postgraduates can now take out up to twenty five books. That’s a lot of books to remember! And with a lot of books to remember comes a lot of different due dates.

Of course, the borrow limit isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When the library increased the borrowing limits, some students jumped for joy. A friend of mine, Claire, is a Postgraduate doing her dissertation at the moment and she takes out a lot of books, right up to the limit. I asked her how she felt about the limit being increased and she said, “Good times. That’s really useful. I always take a lot of books out for my readings and that’s really useful to what I need to do.”

Good times. I think that sums it up really, but it does pose a problem for the less organised among us. More books mean more deadlines… and I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time keeping up with all these dates and numbers!All I know is that with so many other things to be thinking about, library book due dates are on the very bottom of our lists. So when something more important and entirely more pressing comes up, the things at the bottom off that list get squeezed off, and disappear into oblivion.

So, how can we avoid this? A simple thing would be to note down any due dates onto a calendar, in your diary, or if you’re very technical, in your Blackberry/iPhone/whatever fancy gadget you carry about. Set a reminder and don’t worry. Of course, through personal experience, the calendar on my wall gets ignored for weeks, I forget to look in my diary and even though I set the reminder, I take one look at it, dismiss it and then forget.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just a very forgetful person, but who knows, there may be some people reading this that would recognise themselves in it. I barely remember to pick up the books I need for my classes, let alone the books I need to take back to the library.

Advice? Well, I asked a couple of friends and this is what they had to say. Hannah says that, “I leave my books in a very noticeable place, say, on my desk that I do my make up on, or on top of my laptop, so I am forced to remember to take them back, or check online when they are due!”

Emma says that, “Well the truth is that I keep all those teeny bits of paper in my purse and just keep checking dates! I also highlight the ones that need to go back together. Although I always build them up and have a right stash, so it’s not ideal.”

If you are the type to remember all the dates, kudos to you and I wish I was like you. If you’re like me, well, good luck.

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