One common complaint a school librarian hears from parents is, “We didn’t know the book was overdue.” This is most commonly heard, of course, at the end of the school year, when the school office informs the student that he or she will not be receiving a yearbook until all unpaid school fees and fines (including library fines) are paid.
Leaving aside the fact that Secondary students need to learn to be responsible for themselves, and that every time they check out a book they are given a receipt that clearly tells them when the book is due, and that they they have received at least two overdue book notices from the library through their English teacher, the parent doesn’t want to pay the fine because they claim they weren’t notified.
To help parents get the information they seem to want, our District-wide Follett Destiny library circulation system allows for overdue and book fine notices to be sent to both students and their parents via email. This makes notification fast and convenient, and no trees are killed for printed notices that get lost or thrown away anyway.
It looks like a Win-Win situation right? Except that last week at our District librarian training we were asked to refrain from using the email notification option more than twice a year. It seems the District has been getting complaints from parents that they are getting too many emails regarding their student’s overdue books and library fines.