So after our financial excitement and my subsequent pissy mood, yesterday, Mrs. A suggested that I start calling the long-overdues again and I gladly took her up on it.
of the way we're preparing for the move to our new computer cataloging
system is by trying to get people with overdues from years past to bring
their frickin' books back. Granted, we send out overdue notices every
month, but we only those that have been overdue within the past 6 months
or so and we only send any given overdue notice three times before
filing them away for future patron-shitcanning.
October Mrs. A and Mrs. C went through the backlog of long-overdue
notices and weeded out a lot of the books of lower value, leaving behind
those books worth $10 or more that we'd really like to have back. We
then called or sent notices to the patrons who still had our books (most
of which were from 2002, as we figure anything before that is not
coming back ever--though we are occasionally surprised). Well, we still
have all the slips from that October call-fest, most of which still bear
our notes from back then, with comments like "Says she'll bring it in
soon" or "Will look for them" or "Swears he's never seen this book
ever." Of course, very few of those folks who promised to return their
books actually did, so now we have to call their collective ass again.
We the "liberry" underlings HATE
to call overdues. We don't mind sending them notes, but when it comes
to being confrontational about long lost books and having to hear all
the lame excuses people try to lay on you, we just have no patience for
it. I sometimes want to scream: "I don't care that you've been in the
hospital with a pulled head for six months and couldn't make it in. You
can make it in now, so just return the book! We're not even charging
fines! You have NO excuse!"
With such hatred for the
task, this stack of overdues-to-be-called has been sitting around for
several weeks now and almost only get called when there's NO other
project available for us to do. And believe me, we can find other
projects. I'd rather clean up after the serial shitter, three times a
day than call overdues.
Not yesterday, though.
Yesterday I was pissed and I wasn't in the mood to take any shit from
deadbeat patrons who've had a book out for two years. I grabbed the list
and started calling. Mostly, the patrons in the stack have since moved
or had their phones shut off, so I wound up putting most of these in the
SEND NOTE pile. (I love these. I even got to pen the thinly veiled
threatening note we include with them, explaining that patrons who don't
return or otherwise pay for these books will be banned from checking
out books at all libraries in the new library multi-county network until
the end of time itself.) Occasionally I would get an answering machine
on which I left a very polite message explaining the situation with the
computers and how we'd like our books back ASAP and wouldn't even charge
a fine if they'd just, for the love of God, return them. Only a couple
of times did I actually get to speak to a human being.
hearing one such call, Mrs. C exclaimed: "Wait, she's still got a book
out? You should call her back and tell her I'm not ordering the
interlibrary loan she requested yesterday until she brings us OUR book
I also found it terribly difficult not to make
ironic comments on the answering machine of another patron who had a
two-year overdue copy of a book called Procrastination.
By the end of the evening, ALL the overdues had been called or threatening notes otherwise sent to them.