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To a certain extent, I believe how often a teacher does this and how
expensive the items are come into play. We had one teacher who conveniently
"lost" nearly $800 worth of books, a couple of them about $100 each. No
matter what I tried, I couldn't get the books back. What I finally did was
stop buying books this teacher requested so he wouldn't permanently borrow
them. I also stopped checking materials out to him with the support of my
principal. I don' t think we can afford to lose that much when budgets are
shrinking. He retired last year and returned all of the items, some of which
he'd had for 8 years.

My philosophy is that library materials are for all students and staff to
have access to, therefore teachers should not keep items in perpetuity. If
they are so important to their curriculum that they need to have them all of
the year, they should buy them out of their own departmental budgets.

I think it's different depending upon what level your school is. When I was
an elementary librarian, my principal had the attitude that the library
should absorb teacher losses. At high school, my principals have expected
teachers to return what they borrow from the library in a timely manner  and
pay for lost or damaged items. Maybe the higher cost of items plays into it.
I never spent upwards of $100 per item at elementary whereas at high school
I routinely do so for reference books............... In my experience,
asking teachers to be responsible for the materials they check out doesn't
make enemies. In fact, I've had more respect from some teachers for standing
my ground and doing what was best for kids.


Julie Anderson, Librarian
Liberty High School, Renton, WA       425.837.4901

"Fiction is a lie about the truth." Jane Chambers

-----Original Message-----
From: Josephine Dervan [mailto:rderva@INFI.NET]
Sent: Friday, January 04, 2002 2:11 PM

I have been following this thread with interest.

Many years ago when I started in my first teaching job, one teacher
often lost books from collections that she signed out for her class. I
tried to get her to assume financial responsibility. However she was a
good buddy of the principal. I was told by the principal that if a
teacher took out a book and misplaced the book it was OK to forgive any
fines. Reason: the book had been used by kids and for educational
purposes. At the time I thought that it was favoritism. I learned much
later that this was a wonderful piece of advice.

I have never considered charging a teacher for a lost book since. I have
discovered over the years that we are in fact, all on the same team. To
antagonize a teacher over the cost of a book is foolish. What I do now
is to suggest that that if the book does turn up later, just send it
back. I make lots of friends that way. No matter how large a school is
it is not helpful to have enemies.

My Media Center is a friendly place where all are welcomed- teachers and
students alike. If I make an enemy over a book it is not worth it. A
class can sense when a teacher and a Media Specialist are on friendly
terms and when they are not. It is easier for all to grit your teeth and
forget the whole thing. You never know when you may need favor from

Josephine G. Dervan, Library Media Specialist
Strathmore Elementary School
Aberdeen, NJ 07747


Staff Development for Technology Integration

He who has a garden and a library, wants for nothing- Cicero

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