Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Library Fines

I mean local library fines - not the University ones. I had borrowed two books from my local library (maths books of course), one which was called Number Sense (I think!) and the other called "What is Mathematics?". I have been looking to buy the latter, but not yet had any luck; so I was rather pleased when I first came across it in the library.

The rules of the library: loans are for three weeks only, and you can only renew the books online twice. (So in total you can have the books for up to 9 weeks). After this period you have to return the books, but of course if they haven't been reserved you can take them out again. I know why they have these 'security measures' in place, but no one has taken them maths books out for a whole year! A whole year!

It would make life so much easier if we only returned books when someone reserves them. If they wanted to put a cap on the number of renewals, then make it up to a year. I mean, the most you can have a book for is a year, but if someone wants it then you have to return it.

For some reason, whenever I have had books overdue, I have only been charged a pence a day. 1p is the child rate if I remember correctly, but I was happy with this. Naturally sometimes I did forget to return books, but 10 days is only 10p, so it didn't really matter.

Then as the ten days become 20 or 30 days, a letter is sent home asking for the books. WHY, do they not send the letter straight away? (It can be argued whether they should be sending letters at all, but if they do, then why not as soon as the book is over due?) Do they deliberately wait a few weeks so the fines build up?

The books I had, had been renewed twice online. Online renewal means you don't really look at the date you have to return them, and forget that the books belong to the library. I fell into this trap. I have a mass collection of books: some my own, others the university's library and TWO from these belong to my local library. The other day I got a letter asking for them back. I wasn't worried, because if they have been three or four weeks overdue then that is only at least 28pence. It would never be an unreasonable amount of money, and I would just take the books out again.

Today, as I attended to a few matters, I decided to return the library books. Going to the front desk I gave the books to the man named Andy (shall we say). Whilst he did his job, I sheepishly muttered, "I think I have some fines to pay" taking my wallet out. (The 28p's add up to a few pounds at the end of the day). He grimaced and said, "Yeah you do: its £9.75 please!"

I choked back my smile, and put my wallet away. £9.75! How the heck did he manage to come to that total? I didn't know what else to do but glare at the maths books. I had to pay the fine to take any more books out, and I had wanted to take the second book out again. So slipping my hand into my pocket, I fished out my card and was lead to the other counter to pay. I hung my head in shame, and it was then that I noted Andy's name! As I entered my pin number I asked him, "How much are we fined for books being overdue for one day?".

"It's 15p a day".

Where's my 1p a day fine gone to! I slumped my shoulders, as you do in defeat after been caught doing something you shouldn't, and left after thanking Andy. I could have bought the book for that amount of money, was what was going through my head. Be warned fellow library goers - the libraries have increased their fines!

My university library is so much nicer in contrast! A few days before the loans are overdue, we are sent an automatic email reminding us to return the books. Then you proceed to the online renewal service, and then wait another three weeks for the email. You can renew books up to 9 times as well! (I know this since I have been renewing a book for the whole of last year, and they are wanting it back now).

This is not my first time being in 'trouble' with the library. I tend to always forget the date the books are due back, due to the fact that I always renew them online. I could say that I will never ever give a book late to the library, but then again I know that's a lie!

My few errands mean I haven't done any work today. Tomorrow is going to be the same, because I have to attend to a few more matters\{studying}. Therefore I must repeat (with a hint of desperation): Bernard - give me your damn watch!

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