Dear Concordia Library,
I would like to comment on the Public Hold Shelf system that was put in place at the end of the summer. Since its inception, books have gone missing.
Specifically, I can cite 3 books which I had checked out, which were recalled by another user, and then which subsequently, upon my returning them to the library as required, had gone “missing” when I later tried to access them through the library. These books are still listed as “missing” on the library database – and who knows when or if they will turn up.
When this happens once, it’s unfortunate. But when it happens 3 times to 3 related texts, it makes me think that others are abusing the public hold shelf for their own gain or for mischief.
Further, the “code” on the books is not exactly anonymous (again, allowing books/users to be targeted). A random letter/number would be a better option. Finally, the elastic bands and paper is, while perhaps an easy option for library staff, also an embarrassing solution in this day and age.
While I understand that some users prefer the convenience of having the holds accessible, I believe that you could give users a preference of having their book held publicly or having it held behind the desk. ILL books are already held behind the desk, why can’t Concordia books also be, like they were previously?
Please do something about public holds!
Thank you for sending us comments about this pilot project.
I believe that the main objectives of this service are to encourage students to use the holds option and to not have to wait in lengthy line-ups to pick up the items once they are ready for them. You mention that you know of three books that went missing after they were recalled by another user. Unfortunately, library books go missing for a variety of reasons and in these three cases, we cannot assume that it is because of the public holds shelf.
In coming up with the letter-number code, we were trying to come up with a compromise between using a user-friendly code and a strictly anonymous one. Our goal is to encourage students to use the system and if the code is difficult to remember, that may discourage them. Using elastics and paper is considered to be the simplest and most effective identifying method available.
It would be nice to give students the choice between mediated or self-service. Unfortunately, a dual system would be too cumbersome to manage.
Perhaps in the future, with building renovations, we may be able to keep these books in a seperate room, like the Webster Reserves Room, with a gate. This would allow for self-service and yet provide some level of security, so that no one could pull something off and walk off with it without checking it out.
We appreciate any feedback about this and all our services.