Guidelines for Waiving Recall Fines
The following list of situations under which recall fines may be waived is intended to assist billing
and supervisory staff in applying fair and consistent guidelines when working with users who seek to
have their recall fines waived. It is important that all interactions with users concerning recall fines
feature patient, clear discussion of the situation and the guidelines being applied. This will help our
users understand their obligations regarding recalls. When we use our judgment to waive a fine after
having this discussion with the user, it is vital that the user understands his/her responsibilities for
returning future recalls on time or paying fines when returning recalled material late. We must use the
PUB-NOTE field in Unicorn whenever we make a judgment to waive a fine. This will insure that the user
will not abuse the recall process in the future. (No PUB-NOTE should be entered in those infrequent
cases, mentioned below, when a fine has been cleared because the user clearly was not at fault.)
The philosophy behind granting a one-time only waive of a recall fine is that thoughtful discussion has
occurred with the user and no previous waives have been granted and noted in the PUB-NOTE record. And,
most importantly, the user must leave the circulation desk with the understanding that future recall
fines will not be waived.
- It is clear that the mailing address for the user is inaccurate.
- If the mistake rests with the library (e.g., radio button on the wrong
address field; blank address) clear the fine by selecting CANCEL and do not
place a PUB-NOTE.
- If an email address has been apparently entered incorrectly (a typo), after
talking with the user and showing him/her the screen to confirm the address,
waive the fine and place a PUB-NOTE (e.g., Recall fine waived, email address
corrected, bvl klmr 4/11/01).
- If the problem is that the user has not made an address change with the
university, a one-time waive may be made after explaining to the user his/her
responsibility to make the address change through the Rutgers Online Directory.
Place a PUB-NOTE explaining the waive (e.g., Recall fine waived, user
informed of address change responsibilities, bvl klmr 4/11/01).
Encourage the use of email notification, particularly in cases where users insist that they "have
trouble" getting their department mail. When switching users to email notification, determine if they
have year-round access to this address and modify address 1 and 2 appropriately. Recommend to users that
their Rutgers email account be used and mail forwarding be employed if necessary. If users insist on
using a non- Rutgers email address, tell them that they will be responsible for notifying RUL
immediately if they change their email address. If a one-time only waive is made, place a PUB-NOTE
(e.g., Recall fine waived, user switched to email notification, bvl klmr 4/11/01).
If users wish to receive their notices at their home address in paper, you may switch the radio button
in their user file to address 2, after confirming with them the accuracy of the address. If a one-time
only waive is made, place a PUB-NOTE. (e.g., Recall fine waived, user switched to home address
notification, bvl klmr 4/11/01).
- Borrower Maintenance Team has annotated in the PUB-NOTE that mail has been
returned and forwarded (when possible).
Discuss with the user, advising the user to update address with university (Rutgers Online Directory), and, if the problem has not occurred before, a one-time only waive may be made. Place a PUB-NOTE (e.g., Recall fine waived, user informed of address change responsibilities, bvl klmr 4/11/01).
- User claims never to have received a first recall notice.
After thorough discussion, including examining with the user his/her mailing address,
we may make a one-time only waive provided the user continues to maintain that no
first notice was received and there is no PUB-NOTE record of waived recall fines.
Make certain the user understands this is a one-time only waive. It is recommended
that the user's format of notification be switched and noted in the PUB-NOTE (e.g.,
Recall fine waived, claims never received notice, user switched to email, bvl klmr
- User reports that a medical or family emergency has caused a recalled item to be
Discretion needs to be used in these situations. If deemed appropriate, the recall may be
waived. Enter a PUB-NOTE (e.g., Recall fine waived, medical emergency, bvl klmr
4/11/01). Do not ask users to bring in doctor's notes or hospital statements.
- User, in good faith, returns the wrong volume in a series or nearly identical title.
After speaking with the user and pointing out the multiple identifiers provided on the
recall notice (author, title, call number, and barcode) a one-time only waive may be
made. Place a PUB-NOTE (e.g., Recall fine waived, wrong volume mistakenly
returned, bvl klmr 4/11/01).
- User claims recalled item returned to overnight book drop on time.
If after discussing with the user and examining the record and seeing a $5 fine there
is some doubt whether proper backdating had been used in the morning, the recall fine
may be waived. If it is known that backdating was not done, do not place a PUB-
NOTE and remove the fine by selecting CANCEL. If there is uncertainty, a PUB-NOTE
should be placed and the user should be urged to return future recalls to the circulation
desk during hours of operation (e.g., Recall fine waived, possible backdate error, user
advised to return future recalls to circulation desk staff, bvl klmr 4/11/01).
- User reports a book lost before it is due on recall.
Make sure the user understands that he/she will not get a refund should he/she find the
item and return it later (rationale: item would have been subject to recall fines) and
note this on the receipt. Place PUB-NOTE (e.g., Recall fine waived for lost item
, bvl klmr 4/11/01).
- Systems Office confirms that a problem has occurred in generating notices.
It is clear that notices were not produced properly by Systems on a particular date.
Cancel the fine and do not place a PUB-NOTE.
User is Responsible for Recall Fines under these Situations
- I was on vacation. (The user is expected to either return his/her material before
going away or make appropriate arrangements so that a friend/colleague can respond to
recalls and return any recalled material while the user is away).
- I was out-of-town, out-of-state, out-of-the-country, at a conference, etc. (The user is
expected to make appropriate arrangements so that recalled items may be returned on
- I never received the first notice or I never received any notices. (If the user has
already been granted one waive on these conditions, do not grant any more. The first
waive is only done after extensive discussion with the user).
- I lent the book to a friend. (The user needs to get the book back and pay the fine).
- They told me I could have the book for the semester or 28 days. (The recall notice
states that the book needs to be brought back by a specified, two-week due date so
that it may be used by another borrower. The fines that will accrue if the material is not
returned on time are made clear. Additionally, the user may always contact the library
prior to being fined for any clarification of the obligation to return recalled material by
its new recall due date).
- I live in Pennsylvania (fill in the state) and I only come on campus when I need
to. (The user may mail any recalled material to any Rutgers Library, using the
necessary postal rate or form of delivery which will insure that the material will arrive
by the recall due date).
- User reports that recalled item has been lost prior to its recall due date; staff
informs user that he/she will need to replace the item and recall fine will be waived.
If user then returns the recalled item, prior to paying for it, user is responsible for
any recall fines.
- Why would anyone want this book?
- The recall fine is more than the cost of the book!
- It's not fair. I took it out first and I'm not done with it.
- I knew that I had already returned it.
- Fifty dollars for this book! You've got to be kidding me!
- I figured it was a mistake.
- I need this book for my paper.
- I took it out for my professor.
- I'll be back on campus again on Monday (fill in the day). Will it be okay if I return