Tip of the Week - #84 (Fines, Money, and Replacement Items)

Keywords: fines, replacements, billing, lost items

A founding principle for OhioLINK PCIRC is that the patron's home institution deals with its own patrons within OhioLINK  policies.  So, for instance, an institution cannot decide that they will not charge any fines for overdue OhioLINK items because the policy is that every patron is charged fines. However, in certain cases, an institution can decide to waive an OhioLINK fine because, for example, the patron was prevented from returning their materials on time because they were in an accident, had a family emergency, whatever.

We agreed that we would no longer exchange ANY money between institutions based on two ideas:  1) losing items is a cost of doing library business and 2) in the long term, these losses would even out, across OhioLINK institutions.

Based on the founding principles stated above, institutions must charge their patrons the standard OhioLINK costs for lost OhioLINK items.  BUT the patron's home institution will keep that money in all instances. No money will be exchanged between institutions regardless of the circumstances of the material being lost.

Where there has been some confusion has been within the context of the patron's institution dealing with their own patrons.  Here is an example: BGSU normally accepts a replacement copy of a lost item as part of its negotiations with its own patrons about lost BGSU books.  They may deal with lost OhioLINK items the same way.  They can accept a replacement copy and processing fee and keep the item for their own collections, or they can send it to the original lending institution.  The original lender can accept the replacement or not – it’s their choice.  It is not mandated by anyone or any policy that one should accept replacements in lieu of replacement costs.  It is a local decision totally.

Regardless of the collection method, there will not be any exchange of money for any lost material:  not at the two year reconciliation, not at any point.  How libraries negotiate with their patron over a lost OhioLINK book, however, is part of the patron's library's prerogative. HOWEVER, THE PATRON LIBRARY IS REQUIRED TO INFORM THE LENDING LIBRARY OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE LOST BOOK REGARDLESS OF HOW THE PATRON CHOOSES TO RESOLVE IT (PAY FOR IT OR PROVIDE A REPLACEMENT).

Anita (borrowed liberally from an email from Mary Beth Zachary sent to ICS, 2/24/05)