Students may soon be able to pay library fines online instead of in person. PHOTO: FARNIA FEKRI

Library fines making their way online

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By Chayonika Chandra

The Ryerson University Library & Archives (RULA) is considering a way to make paying library fines convenient by using PayPal, an online payment service.

Currently, RULA accepts Interac, MasterCard, cheques, OneCard and cash payments when fines are paid in person. Payments are also accepted over the phone if students can provide credit card information.

“We are currently investigating how other libraries are handling this issue and we are seriously considering setting up an account for the library,” said Kelly Kimberley, head of borrowing and lending services at Ryerson Library.

“[However], there’s a lot of work that would go into doing that – more than just setting up a PayPal [account].” Hao Bai, a Ryerson student, voiced her concern about commuting back and forth to pay library fines on SoapBox, an online forum for student ideas.

She’d like to see the library consider “some online way to pay the fines,” especially for commuters who live far away and have to come to campus.

The library said that they are aware of this popular concern and will be upgrading in the near future.

The library currently uses RAMSS as one of the methods of payment, similar to how tuition fees can be paid.

The OneCard system doesn’t have the capacity to accept payment online.

“We are in the long process of purchasing a new integrated library system, probably in the next couple of years,” Kimberley said.

“The new integrated library system would most certainly be chosen based on a number of important things to students but one of them would be to accept online payments of fines.”

Students who opt to use a Pay Pal account will be charged a fee for every transaction made.

Kimberley said the charge may be passed on to the student, as opposed to the library absorbing the cost.

“One of our goals is to serve the majority of the students and the majority of the fines that we collect are usually $0.50. Most people come in person to make the payment because students don’t want to use their credit card over such a small amount.” Kimberley said that if the library were to try to change something right now with their current system, they would use a lot of resources and it would just be a short-term gain.

“If we weigh it with our limited resources and what we need to do with them to meet students’ needs, putting that much cash toward online fine-payment isn’t in the majority of students’ best interests.” All funds that the library collects through fines go into a university account.

If RULA wants to get its own bank account for its funds, they will need to get university approval first.

“Students have to commute down to Ryerson for classes regardless.

As a formal institution it is weird for students to pay through a third-party transaction website. It should formally be on the school records,” said Dorie Chang, a third-year business student.

“If there’s a problem with a transaction, [the solution] wouldn’t be secure. Proving the problem could be harder for students.”

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