Re: Faculty paying (or not) for lost or damaged expensive

Joan Goodwin (
Wed, 24 Oct 2001 14:11:15 -0700 (PDT)

Our library has a replacement policy which applies to all material in the
We charge one flat fee, no matter the actual cost. The library may come out
ahead in some cases, but in others we certainly lose. I've considered
proposing an amendment that would cover big-ticket items in Media and
Sciences and creating labels that warn patrons that loss or damage could be
costly. Because we're a State institution, as a last resort we can deduct
the amount of lost or damaged material from a faculty or staff paycheck,
but I doubt this makes us many friends.

This hasn't been a huge problem here in the Library's Media Center.....yet!
But there's always a chance we might have to restrict access to certain
materials due to their price tag.

At 01:24 PM 10/24/01 -0700, you wrote:
>One of the sticky issues that occasionally rears its head here at AU is
>what to do when an expensive video is either lost or damaged when a
>professor has it checked out. Though we have a software loan form that
>clearly states that the borrower, by his/her signature, assumes full
>responsibility for replacement in the case of loss or damage, the truth is
>that no professor is going to pay $700 for a lost CRM film (and very few
>are going to write a check for a $200 videotape without a complaint).
>Trying to squeeze the money out of the scofflaw's department would
>undoubtedly escalate to an Administrative head-butting that the library
>would yield on in order to protect it's public image.
>I know many vendors will sell replacement copies at deeply discounted
>prices but that could still leave one with a bill of $200 or more. In the
>past, we have gotten some professors to pay but I have written off many of
>these replacement purchases if the item has been used frequently. Presently
>I do not have a slush fund for replacing lost videos. In an ideal world we
>should probably verbally remind professors of their responsibility each
>time when they check out an expensive item, but its unrealistic to expect a
>staff of 15 part-time staff to understand for which items they should be
>issuing that warning.
>Fortunately this is not a rampant problem but it does occur often enough
>that I would like to establish a more realistic policy that the University
>Administration and Collection Development will endorse.
>I would like to hear other's experiences with this problem to aid in
>grappling with it myself.
>Christopher Lewis
>American University Library
>Media Librarian

Joan Freeman Goodwin
Media Center Supervisor

Library and Information Access
San Diego State University phone:(619)594-6759
San Diego, California 92182-8050 fax : (619)594-0718