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Thanks to all who responded.  Do you ever get tired of hearing "You are
the best"?  I hope not, because you are the best!

Original message:

Several librarians in my district would like to know your opinions on a
two-week check out period versus a three-week check out period for books
at the junior high and senior high level.


Our district policy is K-2 one week, grade 2-12 two weeks with renewals
if necessary.  This seems to work, too long of a check out period allows
more time for a book to be misplaced and forgotten.  Also renewals are
only made with the book in hand at renewal time.

We sign nonfiction out for 2 weeks and fiction for 3.  Magazines and
information files  go out for a week and videos overnight.  We are a
secondary school (grades 9-12).

I am in a K-8 school and we are on a modified flex schedule.   Our
6th-8th graders are actually scheduled once a month (to make sure I
actually see them during the year) but, of course, do come at other
times.  However, with the way they are scheduled for other classes as
well as our schedule some months that IS the only time they can get to
the library easily (they're actually in another building on the other
side of a large parking lot) so last year I switched them to a four week
checkout and it has not been a problem at all.   It sure cut down on
overdues for them.  It's not
the ideal situation but it's my reality.

I inherited a three week checkout at my current jhs.  After a year I
reduced it to two.  I found my JHS students were too "scattered" to keep
track of their books for three weeks.  I have had far fewer overdues and
lost books since I reverted to two weeks several years ago. I let them
renew as many times as needed as long as there is not a waiting list.
Senior high may be more responsible - our hs uses three weeks and seems
to handle it well.

I switched from two weeks to three weeks several years ago to cut down
on paperwork. We are in year three of AR, and kids must actually read
books. On the two week cycle (and prior to AR), I think many kids would
check books out, read part of them, turn them in when they returned to
the library, check some more out, and repeat the cycle.

Yesterday, I was tracking down the "severely" overdue books, those due
before November 12th. One student I talked to was actually reading the
offending book, about a 130 pager, and was half way through it.  My
recomendation, would be to extend the checkout period, allowing you to
cut down on paperwork, encourage teachers to encourage their students to
renew their overdue book, which can allow you to concentrate on the
flagrant issues. We have set up a written schedule for printing overdue
notices, approximately once every three weeks. (Printing them every
week, again, generated a lot of paper with no improvement in results.)
Because we have a written schedule, we track when a student has received
two overdues.  At this point the principal has been extremely supportive
in encouraging us
to assign lunch detentions to these offenders. This, and not allowing
kids with "overdue books" to go to the school dance (I go back three
weeks on the cutoff, but am questioning this) have been the most
effective procedures for significantly reducing the overdue list. As you
all know, the longer a book is overdue, the higher the chances it will
become lost because of a student withdrawal. I'm also finding out that
most of these overdues are just sitting in lockers and not even being

When I was not automated I used a three week system to save me time and
reduce the number of overdues I had to figure.  With an automated system
2 weeks works fine, because it help remind the students to check on what
they've done with the book.  Most of them finish a book in that time
anyway and I give them unlimited renewals.

We've always checked out for 2 wks & no one's ever objected.  We renew
for those wishing longer checkouts.

We've always used a 2 week checkout period.

We begin at 2 weeks, but then make all sorts of accommodations depending
on due dates for class assignments, etc.  With the computerized check
out system, it is so easy to make adjustments for  special cases.

I have switched from a two-week check out to a four-week check out for
our high school students this year.  There appears to be an increase in
circ in the fiction area and less overdues. My end of the year
statistics will give a clearer picture.  This is my second year at the
high school and I made the change because I felt the two-week period was
not sufficient with all of the activities and work committments of the

We use a 2 week check out period and it works fine. Books may be
renewed, of
course. My philosophy: give them 2 weeks, they'll take 2 weeks; give
them 3, they'll take 3.

I have done both.  From my observation nether has an advantage for
lessoning overdues.  I had overdues under both periods and I think about
the same amount.  I also tried one date due a week.(that was when I was
still manual cir. that did not help alot ether.  People ether get books
back on time or not(and I am a or not person myself) I consider it
public library support

I use a 4-week check-out period in my Middle-High School Library Media
Center.  For book report items that are due at the end of the quarter,
the check-out period is 9-10 weeks (however long the quarter lasts).
That saves on tons of overdue notices.

 I came from a high school with a two week checkout, and a standard
policy of one renewal, with exceptions made as appropriate. That policy
worked very well - most kids tended to keep the books for however long
they could, and used them at the last minute anyway.

I am now in a Middle/High School, and there was a 4 week checkout when I
got here. I've cut it back to three weeks, and would like to cut it to
two, but am not sure how that will work with the middlers. For now, I'm
just feeling my way along.

I had thought I might do a three week, but the public library in our
town does two, so I decided to keep it the same to make it easier for
the kids to remember.

We presently have a 2-week checkout , but I am seriously considering a 3
4-week time in hopes that it would help avoid overdue.

We switched this year from a three- to a two-week checkout period.  I
think that it is much better.  I tell the students that they can always
renew the book if they need it longer.  With three weeks, they were
always forgetting to return the books even though they were already done
with them.  The books just sat in their lockers and they'd check out
more books since the first ones weren't overdue.  That is part of our
policy:  students may not check out additional books if there are
overdue ones.  So more books circulate now and there are less overdues.

I am in a junior high 7,8, 9.  We do a two week checkout and it works
out just fine.  If a student needs to renew there is no problem.  I
think three weeks would be too long.  In two weeks they forget where
they have left it, more chance of lost with each additional week.

Several years ago I changed from a two week period with 5 cents/day
overdues to a 3 week period and 10 cents/day overdues Works for us. Some
students are good about renewing their books, others would rather just
deal with the fine. I appreciate the fine money & the students
appreciate the books I buy with the fine money (put in a sticker 'paid
for with fine $').

I'm at a 6-8 middle school.  My students can't keep up with a book for 7
days much less three weeks, though it takes them that long to finish a
book sometimes!  I check out for one week with unlimited renewals as
long as the book is not reserved for someone else.  I require the
student to bring the book in for renewal to be certain he's not lost
it.  This works for us since all students have a scheduled library
period every week.

Julie Long
Cinco Ranch High School
Katy, Texas

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