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FEDLIB  July 2000

FEDLIB July 2000

Subject:

Re: Lost materials through ILL

From:

[log in to unmask]

Reply-To:

FEDLIB: Federal Librarians Discussion List

Date:

Wed, 19 Jul 2000 11:10:44 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (125 lines)

     I am not responsible for this problem in my current library position,
so I can only offer advice from my previous federal and corporate library
admin experience from 12+ years ago. But I would suggest a form letter to
the borrowing library explaining that your library requires a satisfactory
replacement copy of the un-returned item.
     It is easy for the patron to ask that the cost of the book be billed
to him/her, since inflation makes the costs of older books laughable when
you are trying to replace the item. Require a replacement copy to stop this
game cold.
     According to the ILL Conventions, the borrowing library is responsible
for replacing the item, since your time to hunt for a copy can be
extensive, and let's face it, no one has the time for this nonsense. Let
the patron or the borrowing library pay the cost of searching for the item,
mailing costs, return mailing costs when the wrong title is sent by the
vendor, or it does not match the Internet description, etc. For those
patrons who think librarians only check out books, this is an eye-opening
exercise in library research skills.
     And of course, never send out federal library property that isn't well
marked or stamped with your library's name and address. Few libraries have
the staff time any more to stamp the library name on all three sides of the
closed page edges of a book, but it does help make the book more visible in
a pile of other books, and harder to lose or subsequently sell.
     Your letter to the borrowing library should make these general points
on government stationary letterhead:
     1. Emphasize that the replacement copy must be acceptable to your
library (not an inferior copy, a torn or dirty copy, or a spiral-bound
photocopy of the lost item, etc.). The judgement for this is solely up to
the you and your library, not the judgement of the patron or the borrowing
library.
     2. Add a reasonable library processing fee to cover your costs of
correspondence, updating the library computer, adding the barcode, labels,
etc. $25.00-$35.00 perhaps, as a minimum.
     3. In the letter, advise the borrowing library that there are a number
of book stores and dealers advertised in their local telephone book which
can help them locate an in-print or OP title. There are many  Internet
sites which they can use to search for the in-print or out-of-print title,
such as (but not limited to): www.amazon.com; www.addall.com;
www.bookfinder.com or www.alibris.com. It is not your problem if they can't
find a title- it is their problem. Their local librarian can assist them,
or the patron can do all the work, but this is not your responsibility. Say
this sweetly but say it firmly.
     4. In the letter, I would not threaten an FBI investigation of the
patron's home, but I would point out that this missing book still is and
still remains government property.  As a federal librarian, you have more
clout than most county public libraries or university libraries in
requiring a return or replacement of lost ILL items. The penalties for
withholding or concealing government property can be quite severe. You
might quote the applicable sections for the US Code: 18 USC 641; 18 USC
1361; 18 USC 2071. They can be chilling to read.
     And replacing the title does not mean the patron can keep the missing
copy if found later, or that he/she can get a return or refund if he/she
find the former copy after providing the replacement copy. Both the missing
and the replacement copies remain government property until properly
de-acquisitioned (I don't even know if this is a correct English word) by
your library.
     5. Suspend all inter-library loan privileges to the borrowing library
until the matter is resolved to your satisfaction. Announce this in your
letter.
     The wise librarian in the borrowing library will ask the patron to
search for the title, but that is between the patron and the borrowing
librarian. Stay out of it, and don't give further advice on how or where to
search. Your responsibility is simply to insist upon an acceptable
replacement copy. How expensive or difficult it is for the library or
patron to find is up to them.
     Playing children's games like hop-scotch and hide and go seek are a
lot of fun and release a lot of tension. Playing adult games by pretending
you have lost a title so others will work to cover up your greed and theft
is not so much fun and are intense tension builders. Cut out the game
playing, and you'll release a lot of your tension and make you federal
library work happier. Your neck and shoulder muscles will certainly
appreciate it.

R. Lee Hadden
[log in to unmask]














                    "Earnest, Kathryn L
                    Ms USASCAF"                To:     [log in to unmask]
                    <Kathy.Earnest@HQDA        cc:
                    .ARMY.MIL>                 Subject:     Lost materials
                    Sent by: "FEDLIB:          through ILL
                    Federal Librarians
                    Discussion List"
                    <[log in to unmask]>


                    07/17/2000 04:34 PM
                    Please respond to
                    "FEDLIB: Federal
                    Librarians
                    Discussion List"





On the whole we have been very lucky in the return of materials which we
have loaned to non-federal libraries.  However, in the past year, we have
lost two items, which the borrowing library staff can not get their
customer
to return. They are sure the customer is just refusing to return the item
and is claiming it is lost.  They have wanted to us to send them a bill in
order for them to have some leverage with their customer to get the item
returned.

Has anyone run up against this problem?   How were you able to resolve it?

Kathryn L. Earnest
6605 Army Pentagon
Washington DC 20310-6605
703-695-5346; DSN 225-5346
[log in to unmask]

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