Too many times I have been notified that books already returned have allegedly not been returned. I'll come in and find them on the shelf or waiting on carts to be reshelved. I have no faith in your return process.
Beth Burton, Manager of Circulation and Information Services, replies...
Thank you for voicing your concern! I appreciate the opportunity to let you know what we're doing to improve our return process:
- In the very near future we will be able to provide automatic "e-receipts" in your university email account for every item that is returned to any VCU Libraries' service desk or return bin. We encourage you to compare these e-receipts to your own records, and if you notice that you haven't received a receipt of return for an item, e-mail us at email@example.com or call me or Jeanne Scott at Circulation and Information Services: 828-1111. We will begin an immediate investigation.
- Courtesy notices are emailed to your VCU email account three days before your items are due. After the due date, two overdue notices are also sent to your VCU email account. If you know you have returned an item and get any of these email messages, simply hit "reply" and give us as much information as you remember about when and where you returned those items, and we will conduct an investigation immediately.
- Any time you encounter a discrepancy between what you know you've returned and what we have recorded on your library account, you may ask for an investigation. We will override the block on your account and you will be able to check out items during the investigation. Soon, you will be able to go to online to the "forms" page on our website and let us know about the discrepancy from your home or office. Meanwhile, ask for the form at the Circulation and Information Services desk on the first floor near the entrance, or print the PDF at http://www.library.vcu.edu/forms/pdf/investigation.pdf and mail it to us or drop it by the CIS desk.
- You are always welcome to search the shelves yourself for any items you have returned, but it is never a requirement. If you have a few free moments and would like to do your own search, just stop by the CIS desk and we will print out the call number and title of the item for you. If you find the item on the shelf, bring it back to the desk. We will check the "OCR number" - a unique number that corresponds to the item you checked out, and the "return stamp" on the date due slip, that will let us know if the item was checked in correctly upon return. If it was not checked in correctly, we will adjust your account immediately. If the "return stamp" shows a date that corresponds with an overdue return, we will continue our investigation process and contact you with further information.
- Here are some other facts to consider about the return and investigation processes at James Branch Cabell Library:
- Since January 1, 2005, we have processed 37,830 returns and 11,893 renewals.
- We have conducted 139 investigations involving 225 items claimed returned; this is 0.5% of our total returns so far. 99.5% of items checked in have not had claims made against them. This could mean that our check-in record is 99.5%; however, we also realize it could mean that investigations are not being requested. Please let us help you by filing an investigation any time you think we have made an error!
- The average resolution time for an investigation is 5 days. 32 investigations were resolved the same day they were received.
- Of the 15 investigations that were unresolved for more than 30 days, only 4 involved shelving errors- items we found later in the stacks. 7 users found the overdue items and returned them. 4 users were participants in the appeals process, during which time their borrowing privileges were returned to them pending the outcome of the appeal.
I hope our efforts will begin to restore some of your faith in the returns process. We are also always ready to listen to your suggestions and comments. Thank you for taking the time to bring your concerns forward. I welcome your participation in our improvement process!