Friday, September 26, 2008

The Scoop on Overdue Notices

We sometimes hear from patrons taking us to task for “wasting” money sending out overdue notices too quickly. I thought it might be helpful to explain exactly what our procedures are and how you can avoid getting unnecessary notices.

Overdue notices are sent as a courtesy to alert you to library items you may have overlooked. Our purpose is not to scold you for bad behavior but rather to give you a gentle nudge to return items so they are available for other users.

The first notice of an overdue item is generated 5 days after the due date and is sent either by mail or by e-mail, as you prefer. Signing up for e-mail notification is one way to help us save money by eliminating the cost of envelopes, paper, stamps and staff time. It will also get your notice to you quicker, saving you the cost of accumulating fines.

If you can’t get into the Library to return the listed items right away, you can call or go online to renew most items.

To save time and money, we have recently eliminated a second notice which had gone out when an item was 10 days overdue. At 28 days past the due date, we send a bill for the replacement cost of items now considered lost rather than late. This charge must be resolved before you are able to borrow anything further.

The best way to avoid getting any overdue notices is, of course, to return or renew everything on time. To help you do so, we have recently introduced the Library ELF service that provides an alert ahead of time of items coming due on all the cards you register, all in one handy e-mail. Ask at Circulation for details of signing up for ELF or for e-mail overdue notices.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Banned Books Week 2008

Here's a report from Adult Services Librarian Dorothy Pawlowski.

Next week, the Ridgefield Library will join booksellers and libraries throughout the country in observing the 27th annual Banned Books Week from September 27th through October 4th. While not every book is suitable for every reader, Banned Books Week celebrates our individual right to decide what we read.

People are often surprised by the breadth of titles that are challenged each year. Challenges are formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed. The American Library Association reports that in 2007 there were 420 known attempts to remove books and estimates that for every formal challenge there were four to five incidents that went unreported. This year’s list of challenged books includes such diverse titles as Beach Music by Frank Conroy, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and many of the Harry Potter titles by J. K. Rowling.

The Ridgefield Library will feature displays throughout the building of books that have been banned or challenged. For any questions about why a particular book has been cited, visit the Fiction Desk for a look at Banned Books, a resource guide that details the exact nature of each challenge. And, while supplies last, pick up a colorful bookmark promoting this year’s theme “Closing Books Shuts Out Ideas.” There are versions with artwork geared specifically to children, teens, and adults.

In the words of Judith F. Krug, director of the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom, “We must remain vigilant to assure that would-be censors do not threaten the very basis of our democracy – the freedom to choose.” We hope you’ll take time this coming week to celebrate this precious First Amendment right.