January 9, 2011

Library fines

After driving for two days, I finally got back to my city last night. The drive was long and horrible, especially since I had to take a long detour to avoid cities that were getting dumped with up to two feet of snow.

I woke up this morning to a $240 bill from my university library, for four books that are overdue. The bill will drop to $40 when I return the books ($200 is replacement fees) but I will still have to pay $40.

I need all four books for my dissertation, and I took them with me to my parents' house, thinking I could renew them online. But when it was time to renew them, the website refused -- because I had renewed them the maximum number of times, which is twice. And the renewal periods are short, about a month.

Obviously it's my fault for not keeping track of when I checked these books out (I thought I had more time but didn't write anything down). And I could have mailed the books back -- (I considered this but thought I would make it there faster). But the library's policies really do not work for graduate students. We need books for an extended period of time because of projects that last years, like our dissertations. And we travel for research, or because we are on research fellowship and not required to be at the university.

If they are going to force us to bring these books back to campus after short periods, they should at least have this information on the website. Meaning, when I log in and see the books I have checked out, I should be able to see some information that tells me when I won't be able to renew the books again. Right now, there is no way to know until you try to renew the books and get "not renewed" spat back at you. If you're not near the university when this happens, you're screwed.

Faculty members get to check books out indefinitely, or until they are recalled, but grad students have the same short loan periods that the undergrads have -- it's a tremendous inconvenience and has cost me a lot of money.


  • Grad students at my (former) university were allowed to take books out for the semester, assuming the books weren't recalled.

    I would at least try to argue your case and get the fine down.

    By Blogger Psychgrad, at 1/9/11, 5:46 PM  

  • That's ridiculous! Definitely bring that up to someone. Like the above poster, my school allows semester-long check-outs for grad students. Thankfully.

    By Anonymous suzy pepper, at 1/10/11, 7:57 AM  

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