Looking for a New Year’s resolution for 2010? Here’s one that will make you feel quite virtuous with barely any effort: Check out your library books.
Whether you’re taking a book out of the building or just storing it somewhere in the library other than its home on the shelf, it is important that you check the book out at one of the many self-check stations located throughout the library. Why? Here are ten reasons:
1. When someone needs a book that isn’t on the shelf, and it’s checked out, we can track it down quickly and work with the borrower to try to arrange access to it for both people.
2. When someone needs a book that isn’t on the shelf, and it’s not checked out, the library needs to spend some of its own budget (to get it via interlibrary loan) OR *your* money (to repurchase it with Town Meeting funds) on something we’ve already paid for.
3. It’s like voting for your favorite book! When the library is deciding which books to keep and which books to weed, we look at how many times they’ve been checked out, among other things.
4. It’s part of the Library Honor Code that was endorsed by Town Meeting in 2008.
5. Who doesn’t get a little thrill out of scanning a barcode? <beep>
6. You’ll see fewer plaintive requests from the Library in the Town Crier asking for the return of items that are unaccounted for.
7. When the library staff isn’t spending time trying to track down books that catalog says are on the shelf, we can be doing great things like buying new books (that we haven’t already bought), getting things for you via Interlibrary Loan, creating web pages to help with your research for courses and Plan, working one-on-one or in small groups with students on research strategies, collaborating with faculty, or straightening up the shelves to make sure that the books are where they should be.
8. Think of your favorite elderly relative. Imagine how proud they would be.
9. Every time you take a book out of the library without checking it out, something terrible happens to a kitten.
10. When you uphold the honor system, you make it possible for our library to remain open 24/7, and to be a security-gate-free zone, and to have four entrances/exits, and to enjoy windows that open. (Next time you’re at another academic library, check and see if any of those are the case. You might be surprised.)