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The issue of "lost" or "missing" books isn't just a K-12 issue, as many of
you realize.  Many of the students in your schools who fail to return their
books or complain that they "didn't check them out," grow up to be college
students (and even older adults) who seem to replay the same excuse when
they visit the academic library!!

While there ARE some books that are returned and aren't correctly checked in
by our student workers, the majority of lost or missing books are just never
returned by lazy or scatter-brained library patrons.  Generally the bursar's
bill is the biggest prompt to get them to return them to us (the
students are charged the cost of the book plus a $20 processing fee--- even
if they return the book and are refunded the replacement cost, we still
charge the processing fee ----which can be painful!!)

One student recently began returning about 40 overdue books from last
semester when she received a bursar's bill for over $900.  When she returned
the books, she still had a balance of over $400 (which I reduced).  However,
when I searched her "history" of library usage, I discovered that she had
borrowed over 200 books during the past year and had "lost" or had overdue
fines for 117 of them.

You have to wonder how long these individuals were allowed to get away
with not taking responsibility for their library privileges as children or
young adults?

I don't advocate being a "library meanie"...but I DO hope that school
librarians (and administrators) continue to require their students to take
responsibility for the library materials that they borrow and / or pay for
their lost materials.  The trend of irresponsible behavior by students will
continue throughout college and adulthood if we do not address this problem
at the K-12 levels.

Keep up the good work and know that we are also trying to *teach (and
reteach) social responsibility* even at the academic levels.


Shonda Brisco
Assistant Professor / Curriculum Materials Librarian
Mary L. Williams Curriculum Materials Library
001 Willard Hall
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078

"Digital Resources" columnist
School Library Journal

"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get
you through times of no libraries." ~ Library Poster

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