The fact that so many lending periods are reaching their maximum amount at the same time is because the new system was introduced approximately a year ago, explains Geke Wasscher at the UB service desk. ‘The lending period for books is automatically extended when a book is not returned on time. The maximum amount of extensions is twelve, and a standard extension runs 29 days, unless someone else reserves the book in the meantime.’ This allows people to borrow books for approximately a year without having to do anything for it.
This means that many books are now approaching their final return date, although the number of books it concerns is not clear. Moreover, the set-up of the system ensures that this will be an ongoing issue, although Wasscher suspects the time of year also plays a role. ‘Students’ library memberships are valid through the academic year, so maybe that’s why this is happening. Although it’s not just students; the same goes for anyone borrowing library materials.’
‘With every extension, people receive an e-mail alerting them, so they remain aware of the books they have. That is one of the advantages of the new system. It’s very convenient’, says Wasscher. ‘And if you’d like to borrow a book for longer than that one-year period, all you have to do is come to the desk and show us the book. Then you can extend the period all over again, no problem.’
Eighty euro fine
Should someone keep a book beyond that last allowed lending date, they are in dire straits. The fine for that can be as much as eighty euros. ‘We have to have some sort of sanction in place for not returning books. The fine is so high because if the book is not returned we have to replace it. So we have this standard amount for all books.’
The amount is quite high, especially if all you lost is a small, thin book. But the UB is not unreasonable. People can also choose to replace the books themselves, says Wasscher. ‘It’s always worth it to check for yourself. Otherwise we replace it. But we leave that up to the borrowers.’