Today, I thought I would touch on the unique aspect of circulation in a special library, specifically the one in which I work. My library is run under the auspices of the Marketing Department in our large, multi-state, multi-nation, non-profit organization with patrons from various departments but most frequently from my department.
The ILS software we use, Atriuum, has an adequate, automated circulation module. The patrons here who have been assigned patron numbers are not issued library cards because they currently would consider it unnecessary. Physical Items that are circulated must be input by the librarian into the system and directly provided to each individual. In reality, follow-up on returning materials circulated in a timely manner is handled through email notification by the librarian by the end of a relatively arbitrary circulation period.
Unfortunately though, success at retrieving materials is low as there are no incentives to do so and the fast-paced, deadline oriented atmosphere of the organization places relatively low importance on returning materials after they have been used for their intended purpose. This causes in increase in re-ordering items that are actually not lost but “in use” in someones office or department for a indeterminate amount of time to make sure library resources are available to others who may need to use them.
There are a variety of internal software parameters for circulation designation by patron and item class required by the ILS software which were selected when the software was configured. However, determining the actual length of circulation and if & when to contact that patron to try to get the material(s) back requires a sense of the particular person’s relative importance in the department and/or the organization. The longer I work here the easier it is to determine the status of individual patrons. I am sure this is not unique to my special library but it is important to acknowledge in practice.
“Status quo, you know, that is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in.’”–Ronald Regan