Librarian Ire

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Another day another $20,000?

Here's an update from the lost and missing book front.
A faculty member, who is no longer with us, has nearly two hundred books checked out. Since all privileges were suspended a few years ago, due to a nasty law suit(we don't like to talk about it), he now owes the library about $20,000 in overdue fines and replacement costs. Yes, Twenty Thousand Dollars. U.S. currency.

This is a bad library patron. Signs to watch for. Refusing to return recalled books. A harassed and overworked student assistant, bad fashion sense, and my personal favorite a tendency to blame everyone BUT himself for a screwed up reserve list. A late reserve list, no less.
Now you may be asking yourself why am I telling all you this now. (Aside from the obvious entertainment value.) This is a warning to others. Watch for the signs in your own libraries.
And because half of the books that are on my missing list are checked out to him. So I see it all the damn time.
There are other reasons why this still galls me. First, he doesn't just have books. He has microfilm and microfiche. Which I just don't get. Unless you have a microfilm reader in your home it doesn't do you much good to hang on to film.
Second, the books he does have other people have needed in the past 3 years. And since they are about a fairly obscure topic they are valuable in their own right. And hard, if not impossible, to replace. Which means that I have to hunt down ILL copies for them. Not as easy as you might think.
Third it ticks me off that no one in the past 3 years bothered to do anything about getting these items back. It would have been easier when he was still in the state! Only now they start to worry. Duh.
And the man owes $20,000!!!! I mean do you really expect him to pay it? C'mon. And since he is in no hurry to either pay the fines (not that it'd do us any good getting replacements) or return the books to us that's what really pisses me off. That this nutbag gets away with stealing our materials. And even though I knew that we'd end up the loser when people filed charges against him nobody wanted to do anything about getting our stuff back. As Han Solo said, "I got a bad feeling about this." Yep. As soon as it hit the papers, we should have recalled everything on his account. But noooo. That's bad customer service. Screw customer service at this point. I suggested hiring a few guys to rough him up a little. Maybe break a kneecap or two. Just like the code of Hammarabi. You only have to do it once or twice. Okay, maybe three times. Then the word gets out. We'd get our stuff back tout de suite.

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