Sunday reflection – I need your thoughts!

6 Jun

Can I ask the blogosphere for some advice to get me looking at an issue in perspective please?

Oh this is a work question so for those of you who like to keep your weekends free of library thoughts STOP READING NOW.

I’m getting some pressure to consider offering longer loan periods for academic staff than for our students, for our University Library.
I’m anti the idea but think I may be over reacting. What do you all think?

Some background:

We currently have short loans (2 hour or overnight on reserve shelves; 7 days open shelves) and 28 days for our general collection.
For concurrent usage Undergrad students get 30 books, postgrad research students get 60 and all staff get 100.
We’ve always previously had an equity argument where loan periods apply across all borrowers; except for our research collection (items never borrowed effectively 🙂 ) where postgrads and academics get longer loans of 90 days.
Also our fines are applied to both staff and students, and apply the day after an item was due back. (I think this is where librarians get pressure from academics, rather than over the length of the loan).
We hardly ever recall books back before their due date unless they are to be put on short loan.
We offer 4 renewals for all items except 2 hours/overnights; and renewals can be done online.
We send reminder notices by email for items 2 days before they are due with a link to the online renewal form, and for the next few days after they were due; then we  allow renewal of overdue items up to a week after they were due back.


6 Responses to “Sunday reflection – I need your thoughts!”

  1. nomesd June 6, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Our library has longer loan periods for staff. I think it’s a good idea. Why are you against it? Researchers generally need books longer than students – they use them for research that goes for longer than just a semester. I think you need to examine why you have a problem with it. As an academic librarian you are there to support academics – they benefit from longer loans. I’d say, think about the pros/cons and blog about it and we can revisit it again 🙂

    • Ruth Baxter June 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

      Hi nomesd

      Actually as an academic librarian I’m here to support anyone in the Uni across teaching, learning and research. That’s students too from my perspective : – ) I think my problem’s with this issue come clearly from my background in lending services. We often struggled to get items back from academics for reading lists or for students who had tight timelines.
      But the blogosphere has certainly helped me get some perspective. I’ve had lots of replies echoing your thoughts on Twitter. Redoing the loan periods is quite a lot of system work which I don’t think my unit can get done by the start of Sem, so I’m going to suggest we offer academics 10 renewals (which is almost a year’s borrowing) and students only 5 renewals. That means I don’t have to redo the entire loan table, and also means staff don’t have to enforce recalls with academics who thought they had a book for all of semester, or who went away with the items checked out to them. Will see how this compromise flies! Thanks for your thoughts, Ruth

  2. CW June 7, 2010 at 12:18 am #

    I like the 10 renewals idea! Know what you mean about the amount of work it takes to get settings changed on the system though. (Here I refrain from bagging our LMS.)

    Just for the record, my Twitter comment was: longer period [for academics] – get them to help w offsite storage, reduce aggro over fines etc.

    Perhaps, if and when you do take the time to amend the loan table, to help with the equal access perception, extend loan periods this to Higher Degree by Research (PhD etc) students as well?

    This is a task I need to do for MPOW too. Makes me slightly ill thinking about it as it is not a small task.

  3. Penny June 7, 2010 at 8:36 am #

    I’d say nah… if they already get 4 renewals and no recalls then that is almost a whole semester. But if you do up the renewals then I think you should allow recalls so that undergrads can get hold of the item. I say this coming from the perspective of MPOW where we have many mature students who benefit from being allowed to take a physical item home with them. Some of them are part time/ have family/work commitments and having to use a large book for 2 hours just doesn’t work for them.
    But you know your own situation best. It’s a balancing act between academics and students I know.

  4. Ruth Baxter June 7, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    Thanks everyone!
    You’ve certainly helped me look at this with a few less prejudices. Will put forward a proposal in a couple of weeks and let you all know the outcome


  1. And on the sixth day… | Libraries Interact - June 7, 2010

    […] literacy is dead, long live information literacy (I hear you sister!). Over at Creative Circ, Ruth pondered whether academics should get longer loan periods than other university library custome… – a slight challenge to me personally, as the equity-for-all librarian in me knew my reaction […]

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