“The best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry.”–Robert Burns
The past months have required the library to make rapid changes in the way we carry out most of our services. Occasionally we’ve realized that the plans we made did not work out quite as we had expected. One of those surprises involved our overdue notices.
As the library closed, we encouraged our patrons to stay safely at home, and not to worry about returning items until we were able to reopen. In May we began offering checkouts via a contactless pickup service. Although we were happy to check in returned materials, we didn’t want to send out return reminders until patrons could actually come into the library.
This month we were delighted to be able to reopen our doors. Once we had established a new routine, we switched on our automatic phone, email and text reminder service. We know that many of you had items checked out before or during the closed period. We expected that we would initiate our usual process of sending a first reminder, with a second and third following only at intervals of seven days. Instead, some of you have received all those notices in three days, followed by a notice that you’ve been billed for the cost of the item.
We’re sorry. This wasn’t the way we wanted to welcome you back to the library, and we don’t want to penalize anyone for staying safe during this time. We’d just like to get our items back so other patrons can enjoy them. As always, juvenile and teen items do not have overdue fines. This week and next week (through August 8) we are also checking in all our other items without charging fines. When GPL items are checked in, the replacement cost will be waived, and there won’t be any overdue charges.
Please visit us during our open hours to return those items that have been keeping you company during this time, and check out a few new titles. Our outside drops are also open if you aren’t yet ready to reenter the building. If you have Elkhart Public Library items, please call them at 574-522-2665 if you have questions about returns or possible fines.
Again, please accept our apologies, and call (574-533-9531) or email us if you have any questions about your account.
Michael Miller, Head of Circulation Services