Virtual Lending LibraryExchange Procedure
How We Get from ‘Virtual’ to ‘Real’ Lending!
When a member requests to borrow a book, the librarian receives an email alert. What follows are the steps in the actual exchange:
- The librarian locates the book in the LibraryThing catalog, and confirms the availability of at least one copy.
- The librarian enters the book, borrower, lender and date into the Checked Out Books List (an offline backup record). The book is also immediately tagged in LibraryThing as being checked out, to prevent duplicate requests.
- The librarian contacts the lender by e-mail to notify them of the request. The e-mail includes the name of the borrower, and asks them to meet the borrower within a week’s time. The proposed due date of the book (usually three weeks from the coming Sunday) is also in this email.
- The librarian then contacts the borrower to notify them of the lender they will be exchanging with.
- The lender and the borrower work out how to exchange the book. The librarian is available to assist with this transaction, but involving other parties is discouraged as it invites confusion and reduces accountability if something should happen to the book en route.
- When the book exchanges hands, the lender places a slip of paper in the book that identifies them as the owner and repeats the due date.
- After the exchange, the lender and borrower should each contact the librarian separately (preferrably through email) as verification that the exchange took place.
- When the due date is one week out, the borrower is sent a remainder email by the librarian. A second one goes out the Friday before the due date.
- The lender and the borrower work out when to return the book. The librarian is available to assist with this transaction, but involving other parties is discouraged as it invites confusion and reduces accountability if something should happen to the book en route.
- After the book is returned, the lender should contact the librarian as verification that the book was returned in acceptable condition.
- If the due date has passed, the librarian will begin to note late fees. Once the book is returned, the librarian will notify the borrower of the amount due in late fees. This amount should be paid as soon as possible, to avoid suspension of privileges.
In effect, the exchange is much like two friends who borrow each other’s books, with additional accountability. This system helps keep track of borrowed books and it also involves a neutral party, the librarian, who can facilitate the return of borrowed items in a timely manner. If you have questions or ways in which you think this process can be improved, please contact the librarians at firstname.lastname@example.org!