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I recall years ago when library automation was first being introduced into public 
schools back in the 1990's.

One HS library media specialist told me that their LMC at a large metropolitan 
school district?had to revert back to having?a student sign his/her?name to the 
card in addition to utilizing a number for checking out books just for this 
reason.? There were so many problems with students not remembering books they'd 
checked out and/or students impersonating other students and checking books out 
under their numbers.? If there was a signature, there was more proof that the book 
had actually been checked out by the student in question.? We never had to do that 
because I knew all of the students in my building, but it did make me think about 
the challenges faced by media specialists at the larger districts.

In the past, I would offer incentives at my building?for classes or homerooms to 
turn in books on time, such as baking a large cookie pizza for the entire class if 
everyone turned in their library books by the end of school.? Sometimes this 
worked, sometimes it didn't.? 

One memory from the past involved a student and her irate mother who proceeded to 
"unload on me" in front of all the other students who were standing in line to 
return their overdue books.? After this went on for a few minutes, another girl who 
was standing next in line turned to the first girl and stated, "Yes, you did check 
out that book.? I remember exactly where it is because I saw it this morning.? You 
left it on the cabinet next to the coat closet in Mrs. ________'s room, and it's 
been on the cabinet now for weeks."

Without missing a beat, the girl and her mother turned and exited the library to go 
to the classroom and retrieve the book, never bothering to apologize to me for the 
outburst in front of the other students.? 

Deborah Maehs, ret. SLMS (2007)
formerly @ Kingfisher Middle School LMC
P.O. Box 341
Kingfisher, OK? 73750

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