By Creed Kidd, Library Director
We’re occasionally asked about services and operations here at Red Feather Lakes Community Library. This month we’ll share a few questions and answers with you.
Q: You check out materials for three weeks – 21 days – that’s a long time [or, not long enough]. How did you decide on that time span?
A: Any borrowing length is an arbitrary, or at best, educated estimate. We take into account average return rates, items overdue, interests of our users and the dispersed nature of the community, as well as reasonable expectations of return for those individuals that are otherwise waiting for a popular book. Reading or viewing rates vary widely; some can read a book overnight or in a couple of days. Others may take the full three weeks or more.
We’re looking for a comfortable average that is easy to remember, allows sufficient time to enjoy an item without undue stress regarding deadlines and is not an unreasonable wait for someone following.
If an item is on hold – requested by another user – then we ask you to finish the book and then return it comfortably, in allowing access for the next user. Items not on hold may be renewed for two 21-day renewals.
Q: Well, 21-days may make sense for books (even though there’s a wide variation of reading time between Dr. Seuss and James Joyce). However, why not circulate differing media type for differing periods? It seems much more likely that DVDs are going to be finished much sooner than books.
A: Some libraries do that; we do not. The reason for a standardized borrowing period is easier and much more convenient tracking for you. For example, you borrow a book, book or CD, music CD and DVD at one time.
If borrowing periods varied by material you may have one item due in a week, others in two weeks and perhaps books in three (except, possibly new books that check out for two weeks without renewals).
Keeping track of the various dates, frankly, is difficult for most. To simplify and minimize that issue all items here at the Library circulate for three weeks. You can return items – and check out new items at any time. We simply find that items sooner finished tend to be returned sooner so as to pick up more.
The same logic applies to library hours. You’re aware of institutions that vary open hours during the week with reduced hours or closed days on the weekend. Not here. We’re open 9am through 6pm every day seven days a week. Our hours are easy to remember. And, that’s every day of the year, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, a one-day spring break … and perhaps the occasional snow day.
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