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.

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