I value the expansive selection of books at VCU Libraries and use this resource quite frequently. However, I find it very frustrating that these books can be checked out for SIX MONTHS by VCU faculty. This can extremely limit the availability of certain subjects(especially those that are more obscure) and practically undermines the basic concept of a library system. Why should faculty need the books any longer (five months longer at that) than students? The library borrowing policies shouldn't be based on such hierarchical privileges. I hope you will take this into consideration. Thank you.
From: an undergraduate student
Pat Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, responds....
Thank you for your question about the varying item loan lengths to different members of the VCU community.
Loan periods were extended a couple of years ago, based on the work of a study group within the libraries that considered past comments from patrons and that looked at common practices of other universities. It was found that VCU loans to faculty were conservative by comparison with many universities. Some university borrowing periods for faculty are up to a year in length, versus our present six-month loan. The six-month loan was identified as needed to support the ongoing research, curriculum design, and publication activity in which faculty are engaged, and which require prolonged use of library materials.
VCU Libraries recognized, however, that longer loans mean that other options are needed for those who are seeking the materials. Other users may 1) request holds so that they will be the next user contacted when an item is returned, 2) recall the material so that the current user is notified of a request and must return the item within 10 to 21 days, 3) request the material from another library through ILLiad, or 4) utilize our RALC Borrowing Pass program to check out the item from another area library. To find out more about these services, see www.library.vcu.edu/services/circ_info.html.
I encourage you to make use of these options. They are services we staff for and which are in keeping with offerings of other research libraries. I appreciate you asking this question and providing an opportunity for us to make clear why different groups are offered different borrowing periods.