7.5 Lending

Lending allows users to read or view materials in their own time. It is especially useful for users who are based some distance from the resource centre.

There is, however, a problem with lending - the failure to return materials. For this reason, some resource centres only lend materials to staff in the same organisation, or to users in the same town as the resource centre. If materials are to be lent to people who are based further away, there will need to be a system to prevent materials from becoming lost. For example, a deposit could be charged for borrowing materials -- a sum of money that would be returned to the borrower when they stop being a member of the resource centre, or kept if they fail to return the materials.

If the postal system is unreliable, registered post could be used for any materials that need to be posted to or from the resource centre. Registered post is expensive, and the cost would need to be covered by, for example, charging an extra fee for materials supplied through the post.

Health Information Project loans policy and procedures

1. The following people may borrow materials: Tutors, students and other Ministry of Health personnel.

2. The number of items that may be borrowed varies, depending on the type of user: Tutors are allowed six items and students three items.

3. Materials may be borrowed for up to two weeks. They may be borrowed again if not required by another user.

4. All materials may be borrowed.

5. If an item is overdue and a reminder has been sent, a fine of [small amount] per day will be charged.

6. If an item is lost or damaged, the user will be required to pay the cost of replacing or repairing it.

7. When lending an item, either

  • the name and membership number should be written in the loans book and the date when the item is due back should be written or stamped on the due date label inside the book, or
  • the loan card should be placed inside the user's loan pocket and filed by the date the item is due back, and the same date written or stamped on the due date label (loan slip) inside the book.

8. To check for outstanding loans, a check should be made once a week (on the same day each week) to see what items are overdue, and a reminder should be sent to the member who borrowed the item(s).

If many users borrow materials, a card system is better than an exercise book. Each material will need the following:

  • a ‘loan slip’ - a small piece of paper pasted onto the first right-hand page of a book, or inside a video box. The piece of paper shows details of the author, title, classification number and accession number, and has spaces marked out for the borrower’s name and date to be returned
  • a ‘loan card’ - a card containing details of the accession number, classification number, author and title - kept in a pocket attached inside the cover of the book or video.

Each user is issued with a number of ‘loan pockets’ giving details of their name, department and organisation. The number of pockets that they are given depends on how many materials they may borrow at the same time. Loan pockets can be kept either by the user or the resource centre, depending on which is felt to be more practical.

When someone borrows a material, the loan slip is stamped with the date the material is due back, the loan card is put into a loan pocket, and the loan pocket is then filed according to the date that the material is due to be returned.

It is also useful to have a standard letter or form to send to people who have borrowed materials that are overdue (see Section 7.5.2).

Loan slip, and loan pocket and loan card

7.5.1 Sample membership form

7.5.2 Sample overdue books reminder

7.5.3 Reservation

If a user needs material that is on loan, staff might offer to reserve it for them once it is returned. If a user needs materials that are not held in the resource centre, staff might offer to include it in the next batch of orders, or borrow it from another resource centre, and notify them when it has been received.

7.5.4 Inter-library lending

Inter-library lending means one library or resource centre lending materials to another. It can enable users to obtain materials that are not in their local resource centre. Inter-library lending is often organised by networks (see Section 8.3: Networks and networking), although some national libraries will lend to resource centres for a membership fee or deposit, intended to cover loss or damage to materials.

It can be very useful to borrow materials through a network. If the network requires materials to be lent in return, and there is a worry about what might happen to them, materials could be lent on the basis that they must only be used in the borrower's resource centre, and not taken away.