Recall pitfalls

Take steps to manage your books while traveling

Books seen through a window.

Photo by Simon Booth (via Flickr)

This time of year there is plenty to think about: projects, finals, travels, holidays, and more. In the midst of all the excitement, nobody wants to get bad news from the library. By taking just a few proactive steps, you can ensure that you won’t be caught unawares by any “recall notices” you might receive from the Libraries.

“Recalling” books is the process by which members of our community request items that other users have checked out. Any item can be recalled at any time, which means that stack of books you have in your home or office could suddenly be due much sooner than you expected.

Library patrons are only guaranteed a two-week loan period for the 60-day items they check out. Anytime after that, a book can be recalled by another user, at which time the due date will be one week from the date of the recall. If that happens while your books are inaccessible, fines can quickly pile up.

So what can you do?

Make sure your books are in a secure location that at least one other person has access to. This could be a shared office, apartment, or dorm room. That way, if any recalls do come through while you’re away, you may be able to contact someone in Cambridge and have them return your books for you. Otherwise, you can take your books along with you, so that they can be shipped back if recalled.

The Libraries cannot cancel a recall or forgive loans accrued when an item is recalled, but by taking these easy steps before you travel, you can avoid those fines altogether!