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Library loans (2016)

Request

  1. How many books have been overdue at the House of Commons library over the past three calendar years? Please could you break this down year-by-year.
  2. Please could you provide a list of the top ten most overdue books from the past three calendar years?
  3. Please could you provide a list of the top ten most popular books, in terms of how many times they’ve been taken out, over the past three calendar years?
  4. Over the past three years, please can you provide the amount of the fine and the name and author of the book. Please can you break this down by year.

 

Response

  1. How many books have been overdue at the House of Commons Library over the past three calendar years? Please could you break this down year-by-year.
    and
  2. Please could you provide a list of the top ten most overdue books from the past three calendar years?
    The House of Commons does not hold information about the number of books which have been overdue over the past three years.
  3. Please could you provide a list of the top ten most popular books, in terms of how many times they’ve been taken out, over the past three calendar years?
    Information about books borrowed from the House of Commons library in 2013, 2014 and for the period January to September 2015 is published on the parliamentary website.
    As the information you request is reasonably accessible to you otherwise than under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), your request is refused. In refusing your request the House is applying the exemption set out in section 21 (1) and (2) (a) of the FOIA. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.
    Details of books borrowed during the second half of the financial year 2015/16 (October 2015 to March 2016) are intended for publication by the end of June 2016.
    This information is being withheld under section 22 (intended for future publication) of the Act. Section 22 is a qualified exemption, and accordingly we have to consider whether the public interest is in withholding the information or in disclosing it. The arguments for and against disclosure are detailed below.
    The general argument in favour of releasing information is that there is a public interest in being able to scrutinise aspects of the House of Commons where that information might be easy to access and will not prejudice the House. Against disclosure the argument is the public interest in permitting public authorities to publish information in a manner and form and at a time of their own choosing. It is a part of the effective conduct of public affairs that the general publication of information is a conveniently planned and managed activity within the reasonable control of public authorities. Where the decision has been made in principle to publish, there is a reasonable entitlement to make arrangements to do so.
  4. Over the past three years, please can you provide the amount of the fine and the name and author of the book. Please can you break this down by year.
    The House of Commons Library does not issue fines for overdue books, but issues a standard charge of £20 for books from its own stock which have been lost by their borrowers. The charge for lost books which have been obtained on inter-library loan, is set by the library from which the book was originally borrowed. The tables below set out the amounts that have been charged in the financial years 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16, and the titles and authors of the books in connection with which the charges have been issued.
    It may interest you to know that very often these charges have been cancelled when the book is returned. The tables also set out how much of the total charged has been paid, and how much has been cancelled.
    Details relating to charges issued in connection with lost books in the financial year 2013/14.
    Details relating to charges issued in connection with lost books in the financial year 2014/15.
    Details relating to charges issued in connection with lost books in the financial year 2015/16.