Print

Print


I was asked to summarize for the list:

>> 
I don't charge fines.  The number of overdues is small. My system is
manual.  It isn't worth my time and I wouldn't even get to keep the
money.  I think it would encourage more people to just walk out with
materials.  The library is accessible 24/7 and I'm a solo. 

First and second notices go to the patron.  The third, by policy, is a
bill to the patron and a notice to the supervisor (who isn't told the
title(s) or amount of money).  I usually fudge and give people another
chance.

I too get the list of terminated employees after they have gotten their
last check.  HR told me that I'm not the only department out money.
Some things can be paid for over several pays, so if they quit while
still owing money, evidently extra isn't deducted to pay off the
balance. I suppose it is because the employee authorized $X per pay.
Unfortunately I did lose books.  The manager of credit and collections
said he would send a letter but I didn't pursue it as they weren't the
latest editions.  At least one of the employees was terminated
(supervisor returned overdue notice with comment), so I didn't think it
would be very successful. I may do it in the future. 
---------------------------------------------------

We send out 3 overdue notices, each a week apart. On the final notice,
we note the price of the book for replacement plus $10 processing fee.
If the person still does not return the item(s) we "expire" their
borrowing privileges. Then the next time they come in to check something
out we will see a message & in the notes it will say which item(s) have
not been returned. We used to send the seriously overdue notices to our
accounting department & the information would be sent to collections,
but we no longer go that route.

We do not have any library terms & conditions that people must adhere to
in order to check out items.
-------------------------------------------------

While not ideal, our system is effective.  All employees are required to
check out at a number of areas on campus.  The library is only one of
many, they much also check out at parking, return badges, keys, etc.
Until this form is signed by all parties and returned to Human Resources
the employee will not receive their final paycheck.  Thus, we have the
chance to check ever employee and require payment before they can finish
checking out. 
------------------------

For employees it is $5.00 per item, per week for a maximum of 3 weeks.
If they lose the item, they pay for its replacement via a check or cash.

WE have not done payroll deduct- too complicated.

HR is not involved.

So far, in 18 years I have had only 1 where an employee terminated
employment and will not return the book (and that was this Spring.)

For physicians, medical staff set the fine at $25.00 per item per week
for 3 weeks for a total of $75.00.

If they do not return the material, they cannot have any other library
services or check out other materials.


They would then owe the cost of the material and the fine and I can stop
them from being reappointed (needless to say -that is a BIG one.)

I have my best luck getting physician items returned by calling and
asking for their office manager who either writes me a check, or returns
the item.

I forgive fines for almost any good excuse as my goal is not to make
money - but to get my materials back.

(For example, I have two journals overdue for many weeks- just got a
hold of the client who says she is the only member in her family that
can deal with another Downs Syndrome family member who had to have
emergency neuro surgery-- fining her just seems to be cruel... as long
as she brings back the
materials.)

IF the materials are gone, I make the person pay to replace them- but
forgive the overdue fee.
--------------------------------------------------
Background - we are a teaching hospital - we get medical students,
residents, Fellows and volunteers or observers who borrow materials, as
well as regular staff.

Our fine rate is $.25 per open day - meaning we do not charge for
weekends or stat holidays.  We allow max 2 renewals on all items.  Books
usually out for 2 weeks, bound journals for 1 week and unbound journals
overnight (or due Monday when taken out on Friday).  We do have some
3day and week loan materials as well.

The loan periods above are for anyone at the hospital more than 6 weeks.

  Those here less than 6 weeks have a 3 day loan period for books and
journals, and are allowed 2 renewals.


All patrons register using a paper form at the bottom of which is the 
following statement

"READ AND SIGN
I acknowledge that I am fully responsible for the return of all library 
materials borrowed in my name, and for the replacement and processing 
cost of any items damaged, lost, or stolen while signed out to me, and 
for any fines incurred by the late return of materials. Fine rate for 
overdue materials is $0.25 per day, per item."


Not to be too cynical - most people just sign the form without reading 
the kicker..even though 'Read and Sign' is in larger font, in bold and 
centered.  I recently had one person fill in the form, sign it and then 
ask me 'what is the fine rate?'


The paper forms are filed after the borrower information is entered into

our Circ system. (We use the paper as a record, and also to record the 
barcodes of items borrowed so we can take our time entering information 
after the patron has left)


We set patron record expiry date to one year from date of registration, 
or to date of appointment if they are here for less than a year.  We 
found that having patrons re-confirm their registration every year 
allows us to update the dept/home details in case they had moved, and 
allows us to point out any overdue fines


We set a max fine rate of $20 - no borrowing/renewing until fines under 
$20.  Yes, we get a few who are always over $20 and then pay down to 
just under $20 in order to renew or borrow.  These folks also tend to 
pay up eventually.


There are a group of staff members (Residents and Fellows) who are 
supposed to get 'signed-off' at various depts certifying that they have 
returned 'whatever' and owe no money.  We are one of those depts - we do

not sign off on the form until all materials are returned and all fines 
are paid.  We used to actually sign the form but then changed to a 
formal library stamp after some enterprising folks started signing the 
form themselves and not bothering to visit us.


Our circ system is set to send 1st, 2nd and billing notices.  We call 
everyone instead of sending the 3rd final notice.  Notices are either 
printed and sent by internal mail, or emailed - depending on what the 
patron requested.  We send the 1st notice about 3 days after the item is

overdue.  We do send billing notices for lost items that includes the 
price of the item and a processing fee.  Usually this is high enough to 
get the item returned tout suite.  Sometimes we negotiate on reducing 
the fines by half as we are happy to have the item back, and it seems to

foster some good will with the patron.  They feel like they got a break 
despite being very very overdue.


When someone has a fine and comes to borrow something else, we ask if 
they knew that they had a fine.  We do not say that they have to pay 
before borrowing, but the way we ask seems to imply that is the case so 
they search around in their pockets for the cash.


We do have the ability to send out billing reminders - a 'this is what 
you owe.'  We have not done that yet - think there is a feeling that 
this might generate too much ill-will towards us to be worth it. 
Particularly if the fines are only $.25 or $50.  The ones with higher 
accumulated fines tend to be regular borrowers so we catch them
eventually.


Since the Med Students sometimes come back to us as Residents, we do not

delete their records for several years.  When they come to update their 
expired record, we catch them then for outstanding fines.  Some are 
quite surprised, and pay up.


We are not notified officially about people leaving or people who are 
terminated.  The only folks we sometimes catch are some of the Fellows 
who bring in sheets that they have to take around various depts to have 
signed to say all items have been returned.  There are fines that we 
have had to write off because staff have left, and we have lost books as

well.  Very occasionally it will turn out that the person who left 
(usually a doc) left the books or journals in their locker or in the 
Fellows Room - the material eventually works its way back to us.
--------------------------------------------------------



Tonia Harris, MLIS
Manager of Library Services
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
101 East Wood St.
Spartanburg, SC 29303
(864)560-6770
(864)560-6791 fax