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March 2010, Week 3


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Patricia Warner <[log in to unmask]>
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Patricia Warner <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 15 Mar 2010 16:04:54 -0500
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I remember years ago in graduate school returning books I was using for my thesis.  I waited to the very last moment possible and had checked them out as many times as they would let me.  It was 10 p.m. in downtown New Orleans and I walked in with my books and my German Shepherd.  No one was going to give me a fine for being late and no one was going to bother with me and "Chea".  No one did.

Patricia "Pat" Warner, MLIS
Hospital Librarian/CME Coordinator
Memorial Hospital Gulfport
P.O. Box 1810
Gulfport, MS  39502
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>>> "Rowan, Elisabeth" <[log in to unmask]> 3/15/2010 10:58 AM >>>
As someone who over her life has racked up a lot of fines (mostly in
college, but in the public system too)--but who always brought the
materials in, just not on time, my first thought was oh, no, I'd so be
in that mug shot! And I was mostly amused despite that, yet cringing
over the possible public relations implications.

But when it comes down to it, the libraries are fighting the 'it's just
a book, who cares?' attitude that people have with library materials, a
disrespect aimed more at the libraries than for the material itself.  If
the man shoplifted a $30 DVD from a _store_, and then failed to appear
at court, he'd be arrested, too. What makes this any different, really?
Putting someone in collections gets the attention of some, but others
just chuck the notices.  Telling them the law is becoming involved is a
different matter.  In the cases where they went to court, I'm sure
returning the book and paying the fine got things dismissed.  It was his
failure to appear after numerous attempts to contact him failed that
landed him in jail--and that failed because he had not updated his
contact information (something I think public libraries should require
at least yearly).

Now, I do think the library should inform patrons of the possibility,
such as when they initially sign up for their card or through signage.

In the case of medical libraries, many of our materials cost over $300,
which in my jurisdiction would be a felony.  I think residents and
others who abscond would pay more attention if that were the case.  In
the era of background checks, that can be pretty important.

Just my 2 cents' worth.

Elisabeth E. Rowan, MSLS, Medical Librarian
Shriners Hospital for Children, 1900 Richmond Road
Lexington, KY  40502-1238 USA Docline: KYUSSR
vox 859.266.2101 x 1299 - fax 859.268.5636 - email [log in to unmask] 
'Even in the darkness, every colour can be found... '--Penny, Dr
Horrible's Sing-Along  Blog

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