Over €360,000 of library fines issued across Dublin for 2017

Most popular books borrowed include ‘Echoland’ by Joe Joyce and Roald Dahl classic ‘The BFG’

More than €360,000 in fines were levied on people who dropped their books back late to the library last year across Dublin.

Dublin City Council had the biggest problem with tardy borrowers, and just over €141,000 mounted up on late fines during the course of 2017 but collected just €98,613.

In the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area, collection rates for books returned too late were much higher with nearly 95 per cent of the fines total paid back in last year.

The local authority levied more than €79,000 on borrowers but managed to collect just over €75,000, according to details released under FOI.


In South Dublin County Council, the fine tally for the year was just over €86,000, compared to the €55,633 that was collected.

The local authority said they sometimes waived fines for a “limited and proscribed list of reasons” and some of the debts carried over from year to year.

Fingal County Council had the lowest rate of fines of the four local authorities in the capital, with €54,179 levied and €48,537 collected in 2017.

The €362,000 bill for library fines last year might become a thing of the past under plans currently being considered by the Government.

Under a new strategy, late fines might be abolished in an effort to encourage increased membership at libraries across the country.

Only two of the four local authorities were able to give an estimate on how many books had been stolen, gone missing or were never returned.

In South Dublin County Council, just over 29,000 books had gone astray after an audit of all the various branch libraries.

“This was based on a strict category by category search and was based on checking the bookshelves only. If an item was misfiled at the time of a search, it was marked as missing inventory. If it is subsequently presented for borrowing, then this status is overwritten,” the council said.

Dublin City Council said they had 15,880 items that were classified as “not yet returned”, which was just 0.75 per cent of the more than 2 million items issued during the year.

“Items counted in the ‘not returned’ column are not necessarily ‘missing’ – some may well be missing but as of now they have an item status of ‘overdue’,” they said.

The local authority said they expected the count to decrease during the year as more and more items got returned, at least better late than never.

The four councils also gave details of what were the most borrowed books of last year, with kid’s titles proving particularly popular.

In Fingal, nine of the 10 most popular items were written by just two authors – David Walliams and Diary of a Wimpy Kid writer Jeff Kinney. Their figures covered July to December.

For Dublin City Council, the results were a little more mixed with Echoland by Joe Joyce the top title, mainly because it was chosen for the One City One Book initiative.

Other well-known titles that made the top 10 included The Green Road by Anne Enright (4th), Roald Dahl classic The BFG (5th), and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling (6th).

The top choice in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (July to December) was Eithne Massey's Where the Stones Sing, a novel about the Black Death in Dublin in the fourteenth century.

It was followed by Graham Norton's Holding with Sebastian Barry's Days Without End in third.

South Dublin County Council said all of their top 10 for 2017 were made up of "junior titles" with the Big Bad Book of Bart Simpson by Matt Groening claiming the number one spot.