The Library Fine Story

Okay, so here’s the story on the library fine of $102.00 and how it was magically (or not so magically reduced).

Did a MELcat request through Library A*. Got item from Library B*. Library A set item as a 7 day request. Well, I was going to Michigan’s Great North and asked a library clerk at Library A if I could have it for longer. Clerk said no, only librarians were allowed to do that. Okay, okay, fine, I had to go to work, so I just checked it out and left.

Called Library A next day and requested a renewal of MELcat item. Was told no by head of circ, with few other options offered. I pulled the librarian card and said “I know that this can be done, please help me, I will bring it back in 10 days and I want to do the polite thing and extend it”. No. Had to go to work again (I work a freaking LOT) and let it be.

Went up north. Called Library B. Nice Librarian at Library B said that she had no problem with an extension but of course, I am not her patron, so she can’t renew my record, because she doesn’t have my record. Yes, yes, of course, that’s understood, just want to hear your policy…thanks.

Call Library A. Ask for Librarian. Pull the “I’m a librarian, don’t mess with me” card again, but politely of course. Was told by librarian, no, can’t do it. Was not offered any other options, like talking to MELcat coordinator. Frustrated and mad. Said goodbye…went off to grumble about interlibrary loan and sit on beach.

Fast forward…get home. Discover that ILL item (which was a DVD) was left in fricking DVD player. Freaked out. Waited two days for rest of family to get home with said DVD player. In meantime, got email bill saying I had to return item or pay $102.00 to compensate libraries for pain and suffering. Got DVD, returned it, paid 75 cent fine.

So, here’s the thing. Why wasn’t the clerk empowered to help me a bit more in the first place? Why was Library A so difficult? If I’m frustrated and I’m a librarian, no wonder patrons go nuts. A patron who is trying to do the right thing and extend or renew an item is going to get screwed. And as a random aside, I have a different MEL item that I got through work and I logged on just yesterday and renewed it one more time because I still need to write down some notes from it.

I know we have to be careful with MELcat and ILL items, but it was a frustrating experience. I guess what made me mad was the blasé attitude I got at every turn. C’mon, give a girl some credit for trying!

(*Library names have been changed… 😉 )

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One response to “The Library Fine Story

  1. Our clerks are completely useless. They’re either law students or they can’t seem to keep any of the policies straight, so it causes headaches all the time. They’re a necessary evil, I am afraid.

    Sounds like someone was just too lazy to log in to OCLC or whatever portal is used for MELcat.

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