Minutes of October 24, 2007 meeting

Nita Mukherjee, Will Torres, Shirley Lewis, Rebecca Luo, Melanie Miller, Antoinette Peteet, and Barry Lipinski (recorder).
Georgina Alonzo, Maggie Harris, and Sandy Marsh.


1. Hold Project Recap

The group reviewed its recent activity successfully meeting the deadline of October 5, 2007 for the placement of financial holds. Group members examined 791 records of users who are barred with overdue materials with due dates ranging from 1/3/2007 to 7/28/2007. The group placed 629 financial holds on barred students and alumni. Last Fall (2006), the numbers were nearly the same (793 user records and 632 financial holds placed). Meeting the October 5, 2007 deadline ensured that all users would receive a letter from Student Financial Services alerting them of their need to satisfy their obligation, i.e., return or pay for books, to avoid being blocked from registration for Spring 2008 courses.

2. Delinquent Accounts Recovery Update

Nita informed the group of the progress she and Judy Gardner have made in the Delinquent Accounts recovery work. Nita is working with a report containing 271 GUEST users (predominantly ALUMNI, but also some VALE, NJIT, REBLS, ESSEX, WITHDRAWN, and PARTNER borrowers), with 690 items checked out worth $79,518.10. Letters directed to these barred users, informing them of their obligations and giving them 30 days to either return or pay for material at the libraries to avoid Delinquent Accounts Collection Agency action, were sent out in three batches (on 10/5, 10/8, and 10/10). Thus far, 95 letters have been mailed.

In Phase 1, these barred users are informed that they have 30 days to either return to the libraries the long overdue material or pay for the items at the libraries. A PUBNOTE is placed in the user record so that staff know that the user has been notified of his/her obligation as part of this recovery project. Staff should remove the hold as usual when users clear their accounts, updating the PUBNOTE with the remove hold information and informing the library billing person who placed the particular hold. Nita will clear out all the other PUBNOTEs when the books are returned or paid for during the 30 day warning period.

In Phase 2, users who have not satisfied their obligations within the 30-day period will need to pay for this billed material at Delinquent Accounts. Payment will not be accepted at the libraries. However, book returns will still be accepted. When users return billed items in Phase 2, staff need to email Judy and Nita, letting them know that the material has been returned. They will then inform Delinquent Accounts.

For more information on these procedures see:

3. Items Not Found in Catalog and Add Brief Title

The group revisited the DRAFTS of the procedures for “Items Not Found in Catalog” and “Add Brief Title.” The CIRC NOTE: “Route to DTS-(library)” will be entered by billing staff when long-overdue withdrawn items are returned and the staff do an add brief title record for these items. The items are then sent to the appropriate local technical services office. As a pilot project, all staff at the circulation desk who need to do an add brief title for circulation-on-the fly, will also enter a CIRC NOTE: “Route to DTS- (library.”

4. Books Returned with Bugs

In light of a few recent incidents involving returned books that suffered from bug-infestation, the group discussed how best to proceed when encountering this problem. It was suggested that materials bearing bugs such as book mites and bed bugs should be bagged in plastic and handled as damaged items needing to be replaced (paid for or new replacement copy supplied by user). The group felt that working with a user who has returned such material would require sensitive handling. A letter or phone call from a department head or assistant department head may be appropriate. The group recognized that users with additional material checked out may be running the risk of having this bug problem existing in their other checkouts.

Barry related a case that occurred at Alexander where a user had eight checkouts and two were returned with bed-bug infestation. Jeff Teichmann brought it to Roger Smith’s attention and Roger contacted the user and made it clear that the remaining checkouts would need to be examined by Access Services staff before they could be discharged or renewed. In this case, all eight books had an infestation problem (one contained a live cockroach), the user was billed and subsequently paid for all eight items.

But what does the library do when the user has 70 or 223 checkouts?

5. Information Sharing

Rebecca provided an update on Interlibrary Loan Services’ early experiences with ILLiad. One concern, mentioned by Rebecca and Nita, is the inability of ILS to know if a requesting user is blocked or barred.

Melanie announced that Alfreda Richardson of SERC would be coming to Math to provide staffing support in the afternoons, beginning October 22nd.

The weekly electronic 029 Delinquent Accounts reports will be kept for 5 weeks before being removed by Nita.

Next Meeting: Thursday, November 29, 2007, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Kilmer Media Classroom, with videoconferencing to Dana (Special Collections Room) and Robeson (Robeson Library Conference Room 290).

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/billing_group/minutes/billing_group_min_07_10_24.shtml
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