Payment of overdue fines is as old as libraries. When resources on loan are not returned on time, a fine is charge at a rate determined by the library. According to Adomi (2003), overdue fines are the amount a library user is charged for keeping borrowed material beyond the loan period. There is variation depending on the type of library and the status of the reader. Payment is usually done at the circulation desk: the library market place. Depending on the material type, fines can be hourly daily.
Fines are one of the ways libraries generate funds. Ifidon (1999) observes that fines for overdue books are a miscellaneous source of funding, along with the cost of replacing a missing book or borrower's card, sale of duplicates and publications, photocopying proceeds, and fees from subscription libraries. Abareh (2001) and Adomi (2003) regard payment for missing books and borrowers cards as punitive measures meant to serve as deterrents to delinquent library users and not necessarily avenues to generate funds for the library. In academic libraries across Nigeria, registration fees have been introduced. This is a reliable means of generating funds for the library. Prospective library users are required to pay an amount for a borrowers ticket or identity card before they are granted access to library facilities.
There is a plethora of literature on the concept of overdue fines. Though the works of Zaki (1994), Abareh (2001), Adomi (2003), Alafiatayo (1985), and Greenwood and McKean (1985) come quickly to mind, none of these authors has been written about staff users' attitudes toward overdue fines, particularly in polytechnic libraries. This study addresses this gap.
The objective of this paper is to discover the opinions and feelings of staff users toward overdue fines in Nigerian Polytechnic libraries; the challenges libraries face in enforcing payment of overdue fines; and whether payments of overdue fines have in any way contributed to the enhancement of library operations and services.
In the light of the above, Delta State Polytechnic Library Ozoro (DSPZ) and Delta State Polytechnic Library Otefe-Oghara (DSPT) provided data and institutional setting for this survey.
Brief background information showing the profile of the libraries surveyed is presented in the table below.
Library Delta State Delta State Polytechnic Polytechnic (DSPZ) Library, (DSPT) Library, Ozoro Otefe Date established 2002 2002 Library stock...