Librarian Ire

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Emailing the Patron

Things have been suspiciously quiet this last month... Perhaps my dream is realized and I am now feared by all? Well, I think its a smashing time to address "How to communicate with the patron"

Example 1 : A book has been recalled from a patron by someone and they have sent you, the circulation desk, an email saying something to the effect of "I need this book for my work so am going to keep it. Could you tell the other person?"

Polite first reply by staff: Dear patron, All circulating books can be recalled from one patron by another. Recalled books will need to be returned to the library. We can assist you in finding another copy, or in placing a recall request of your own on the book.

When, after 2 weeks, the recalled book is not brought back, whatever do you do?

Iron-drawers: Patron, the book Blah-Blah is now 14 days overdue. Fines of $1/day are accruing on this item, you are being billed for the book, and all of your library privileges have been blocked. Return the book immediately.

Book is returned approximately 2 hours after email is sent.

Example 2 : A patron has returned a reserve book without one of its pieces (map, disk, whatever)

Polite: Dear patron, The book blah-blah which you recently checked out from the library was missing the map that accompanies the book. Do you have this map? If so, could you return it to the circulation desk? Thanks, Circ desk

Iron-drawers: Joe, The map for the book blah-blah which we emailed you about previously has still not been returned. The book has been checked back out to you and you will accrue fines of $3/hour on this item until the map is returned. Loki, Circulation Manager.

Time it took to return? 56 minutes.

What have we learned? Leave off the niceties - there's no "dears" or "thanks" here. Leave no room for ambiguity - we know you have it bring it back! And finally, name the money amounts and make no mention of the limits that you probably have; Make them think it will be $3/hr forever!

1 comment(s):

I've noticed that the more money they own and the harder line you take with the whole fines and forgiveness the faster they come in. Either to complain or return. Usually both.

By Blogger Nike, at 4:15 PM  

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