LibQUAL comments 2007+: Circulation

Circulation - negative

1. The requirement to bring books back yearly to renew more than three times is a huge pain for ABDs, I am in town today with 600 pounds of books, 3 kids and spending 24 hours in a car (literally- 12 hours each way) doing this. Somehow it would be nice to figure out a way to do this differently.
2. My biggest frustration is the constantly changing and rather arcane rules about renewals. It was glorious when I never had to return books, just renew them. Shorter and shorter return periods with huge fines makes it very hard to deal with the library.
3. Ask how many grad students find it inane and inconvenient that you have a policy requiring us to physically take our books in to renew them after 3 quarters, especially when your circulation staff can't handle simple requests like check this back in and then let me check it out so I don't have to lug it here again next quarter. You really think grad students are the ones who lose/steal books all the time? I'm thinking faculty and alumni are probably the real culprits, and they don't get penalized at all.
4. Also, as a PhD student, I am appalled that I have to bring back every three quarters part of the nearly 200 books I have checked out at any given time for my dissertation and teaching. Given that PhD students rely heavily on books and for that reason respect them greatly, might it be possible to extend that proving I still have the book requirement to maybe every three years? I've had many books checked out continuously for the past six years (obscure dissertation), and to have to be constantly hauling bags of books back to the library to be renewed is a huge pain in the ass (not to mention pain in my back, due to the weight of the books).
5. PhD students should be able to check out books indefinitely. We are not the people hoarding and losing books-- that would be the faculty. Faculty sit on those books forever in their carrels, while those of us writing dissertations have to schlep our books back to the library every three quarters, sometimes traveling great distances hauling heavy volumes
6. The long borrowing period and recall system make it very difficult for me to obtain and keep the materials I need. It never fails that I am in need for a particular volume and it is checked out. If I happen to check it out myself, it is recalled very soon. Our collection is one of the most impressive in the country, but it's not of much use when access to the volumes is restricted in such a fashion.
7. Possibly reconsider indefinite loans to faculty. They tend to hoard books
8. The loans that are only available for a few hours are not helpful for alumni
9. Please change the nonsensical rule that users can take books out for a term at a time and then renew. The biggest problem with the library is that you look to see whether there's a book in stock and you find it's out on loan, then you realize that by the time it's returned you'll no longer need it. Limit loans to three weeks and make people come back in person if they want to renew. That way it wouldn't seem - as it now does - as though the library didn't actually own the most important books, so you have to buy them yourself. In the current system, people can take books out for a year and actually keep them unused in a locker within the library while no one else - in fact, if not in principle - can use them when they need to.
10. Recalling takes too long.
11. Please change the recall policy. Frequently I recall a book and then get a notice saying it is available for me. By the time I get home, it has been recalled from another user. Often the books is too long to read within the week that I have to return it before penalties begin to accrue. I often end up returning the book without opening it and the cycle begins again if I recall it from the person who recalled it from me. It is a real waste my time and the time of other users. Lengthening the period to two weeks would make it possible to read the book.
12. My biggest complaint is that, inevitably, the books I need for research or class-work are not available for me to take out of the library. They are either on reserve for a class I am not in (which still leaves them [in]accessible), or they are checked out and I have to engage in a recall-war in order to get to use them.
13. The recall system is awful. The fact that one cannot ILL books that the library owns, but that are checked out or on reserve, is seriously detrimental to research. In my experience, attempts to recall books are successful *maybe* half the time. Being dependent upon a book that is on 4 hour reserve for a class is extremely frustrating. This is a major problem that could easily be resolved by allowing users to acquire these materials through inter-library loan (though this service, alas, is not the most dependable...).
14. Also, new policies need to be put into place regarding recalls and interlibrary loan, which sometimes make it difficult to access the material I need.
15. It's very annoying when i've just checked out a book and it's recalled in the first week and I have to relinquish it.
16. I have taken a number of classes in which students enrolled checked out all books on a particular subject and needed to recall other students books.
17. I believe it would be helpful if the library bought multiple copies of popular books, particularly those used in the humanities. I have often been placed 5 or 6 in the recall queue for a book, which hinders my access to needed material
18. The recall system is a major pain. Professors take forever to return materials. There must be a better way to manage this.
19. It would be nice if a user could know on what date a particular book was issued, so that if he/she wants to 'recall' it, he/she'd know if the book's current owner had the book for a reasonable amount of time.
20. I would consider revamping the recall process. One week is too long for a person to keep a book before returning it to another student who needs it.
21. I dislike the fact that every time I try to check out a book, I have to recall it or put in a search for it, b/c it's not on the shelf. (Maybe we can cut out the infinite loan periods for faculty or academic non-faculty.... they have relatively high salaries and can afford to purchase their own copies. )
22. The only problem I've ever had with the library is that I wasn't aware that it's not possible to recall books that are on reserve. If this is not allowed, perhaps it shouldn't be possible to do so online, or actually stated somewhere.
23. Recalled books are often delayed.
24. Furthermore, I often have to recall books, suggesting that the library should own multiple copies.
25. reevaluate the recall-ILL system.
26. Returns need to be handled more carefully - especially at the end of the quarter. This year, for example, 3 of the books I returned were marked as still out on my account. When I spoke with circulation, they indicated I should fill out a claim form online (which I did). Weeks went by with no sign of these books despite e-mail exchanges with library employees who claimed to be looking in all the libraries for these missing books.. Finally the week came when I was to pay $100/book replacement fee or suffer a hold by the Registrar. In a final desperate attempt to locate these missing books, I made a sweep of every library on campus that contained the same call numbers as the books I returned. I found all three of my books - in three different libraries. One of them was in the correct library, on the shelf, EXACTLY where it belonged -- it simply hadn't been scanned as returned. While I know mistakes happen, my main frustration with the situation was that I was being assured by library staff that they had already looked in these locations. Clearly, they hadn't, and as a result, I, the patron was being charged $300. I am sure I'm not the only one with this story.
27. The biggest problem I've had with the library during my long tenure here is that I have rather often had the library fail to check in books that I have returned, which has meant that I've had to persuade library personnel that I have, in fact, returned the books. Not sure if this is a common problem or if I've just been unlucky, but I hope it happens less often in the future.
28. Fines can be draconian.
29. Additional email notifications for items that are due, prior to the passing of the due date is in order. This is done for inter-library loan items, therefore I see no compelling reason not to have a final notice a day or two prior to the due date for items that have been recalled. It should be fairly easy to automate since it is already done for some items. That a notice is sent out only several days after an item is overdue strikes me as a money grab, rather than a proactive measure to get books returned on time.
30. Unresponsive service. Asked me to return books I have never borrowed.
31. Really bad at making sure each book is scanned when checking out and losing books after they returned. The worst service in this manner of any library I have ever used.
32. The only problems I've had with the library were that I once returned a reserve book on time but was then charged a $5 fee and had no way to prove that I had actually returned the book on time.
33. I think that the fine system is too high for college students undergrad and graduates. I also think that a renewal reminder should be sent.
34. Late fees on reserve materials are really too high. They accrue far too quickly and frankly I have no intention of paying those fines except if forced.
35. And most importantly-- why do you print out a receipt for every single book checked out? Just print out one per transaction, or let the user say whether or not they want one, or just have people check online- you're wasting a ton of paper.
36. I wish that Crerar had a drop box to return books. I don't feel comfortable leaving them at the circulation desktop and it hardly merits calling for assistance. A simple wooden desktop box would do, just so the staff and I know that the material is being returned. Thanks.
37. Library used to have a box at curb of 57th St. for return books. Taken away to save cost by M. Runkle! As emeritus fac., I returned books twice by car, parked outside w. lights flashing, and got tickets--even on Sunday. Total cost=$100.00. Can some relief be forthcoming?
38. There's one employee at the library I've foun consistently competent and helpful. I think his name is David. He works at customer service in the Reg, and he's the guy I go to when other staff member screw up (which seems to happen on a regular basis). He's awesome. Please give him a raise. 2. Example screwup of another employee: a couple weeks ago, I went to pick up a book that was being held on recall for me at Harper. The student employee told me that this was the last day the book would be held, but that I had to pay a fine on my account before picking it up. (The fine was later determined to have been erroneously applied for a book I had returned, which the library promptly lost, and billed to me before finding it in the stacks mis-shelved). At any rate, I told the student I would go to the Reg to pay the fine, since Harper won't accept payments. The student told me that IF I LEFT FOR 15 MINUTES HE WOULD RETURN THE BOOK TO CRERAR, since that day was the last hold day. Seriously, he would NOT let me go pay the fine and come right back so I could get the book, which I needed for my dissertation research! So of course when I went to check it out the next day after it had been returned, someone else had already gotten it, and I had to push back my dissertation proposal as a result-- all because this peevish employee felt the book had to be sent back RIGHT THEN
39. Many of the students staffing the circ desks at Crerar and the Reg are sullen at least, and sometimes openly rude. They often act as if helping patrons is a waste of their valuable web surfing time.
40. Some of the people who operate the circulation desk have poor attitudes. I don't want to accuse them all but I have had various rude encounters.
41. Some of the students are pretty rude at check out and I've been tempted to correct them, but I haven't.
42. But student employees at circulation are terribly trained.
43. The student employees are often rude and unhelpful. When you go to one to check out books or ask a question, they normally act as if you're asking them to do something that's not in their job description. Train them to be more polite and helpful to patrons, or screen applicants for friendlier workers with more positive attitudes in the future.
44. People working at circulation are not always as helpful or patient.
45. My main complaint is with a few employees of the check-out desk. Most of them are fine, but the few are incredibly rude, sullen and unhelpful and I really wish that those people who don't have the basic skills to work at that desk were fired.
46. I would like the university to allow for more interest in rare collections as well. For example, if there are manuscripts from the 10th century, I would like to be able to have relatively easy access. This is not the case right now.
Return to TOC

Circulation - pos

1. I especially appreciate the ability to recall items and receive those items usually within a week.
2. Also I can usually keep them throughout the quarter without worrying about them being recalled.
3. The possibility to stay with the book for a long period is essential for research. The library policy in that matter is excelent, thanks!
4. I have an RA access library materials for me on a weekly basis. It is very convenient to have proxy borrowers.
5. The managers at circulation are very, very very good, and very helpful.
6. I love Dan at the customer service desk of the Reg! He is the sweetest man.
7. Circulation desk staff always very helpful and considerate.
Return to TOC