By Jennifer Quilici
Arizona Daily Wildcat
With over 3 million items, the Main Library has had a history of problems locating some books and mistakenly fining some students for books they say they returned.
The Main Library has been investigating these problems for more than a year and is working with experts trying to solve them, said Jeanne Voyles, leader of the materials access team.
Voyles said this semester the library implemented the Process Improvement Team to help correct some of the problems and get the system running more smoothly.
"The computer says a book is in the library and when you go to the shelf, it's never there," said Shannon Stein, business and communications senior.
Students have also received letters claiming they owe fines for books they already returned.
"I was wrongly fined once for a book the library eventually found on its shelf," Stein said.
Theresa Baker, biology sophomore, said, "I got a letter saying I didn't return a book Ÿ but I did. Now I have to call the library, but the office I need to speak with is only open from 2 to 4 p.m. and I have classes then."
Last spring the library ran three anonymous tests and discovered it took two to 200 hours for returned books to make their way back to the shelves, said Robyn Huff-Eibl, library specialist and team member.
Eibl said another major problem is that books that are used by students in the library aren't picked up or are returned to the wrong shelves.
"We have put people in charge of picking these books up and making sure they get shelved," Eibl said.
She said that after the tests last spring, the library made improvements. She said all books are now checked in and shelved within four hours of their return. The average is two hours for the Main Library.
At the UA Science Library, data shows the process takes between one and five hours.
"When you call up for books on the computer, it says they're there, but when I go to look for them they're not on the shelf," said business junior Curry Hale, who has run into this same problem all semester.
Huff-Eibl said part of this problem might have been that the circulation desk used to batch books and wait to return them to the shelf until they had a full cart.
Now there are carts at the circulation desk that represent every shelf on every floor of the library, and now shifts change every hour on the hour so these carts leave the area at that time.
The problems students encounter with books they've checked in may be from a complication with the system the UA uses, Huff-Eibl said, because other libraries with the same system have been hearing some of the same complaints.
Eibl said students' complaints are more common when they check a large number of books out, as opposed to just one or two.
The library hopes to implement a new computer program for distributing fines, said Sandy Bose, a library supervisor.
She said they would like fines to go straight to the Bursar's Office, similar to the Student Health Center.
The library computer automatically handles notices sent to students but with the new program the Bursar's Office would handle them that same day, Bose said.
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