Library Books

It recently occured to me that librarys no longer use the check-out cards or stamp the date due into books, so why do they continue to paste those little pockets onto the back page? Even the new books at my library have them, so they aren’t just leftovers from the old days. Is it just my library that does this? They are closed tomorrow, otherwise I would just call up and ask. And no, I don’t think I can wait until Tuesday for an answer.

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” Albert Einstein

Newer books needn’t have those cards in them, if your library has upgraded to a barcode system. Most books will be prepped with just stamp pads. That leaves the question of what to do with the pockets. At our library, we use the date stamp space on the pockets until they run out of room, at which point we paste a new date stamp sheet over it. If a book still has a card, we pull it and save it for scratch paper.

Sometimes, books are assigned pockets and cards before they even get to us. They are usually temporary donations from publishers, and those copies will be for sale at ‘remaindered’ tables in a few months.

At the library I went to, they had a use for those pockets. When you check out a book, they stick a paper in the pocket with the date that shows when you have to bring the book back.

The vendors that provide the books put them there. Does the pocket have the name of the library on it or does it have some company name on it like “Brodart” or “Baker & Taylor”. Some libraries still need the pockets and it’s possible some smaller libraries in your area still use them.

The alternate solution is that there is a politically-connected union of people who paste those pockets in the back of books. Libraries have tried to eliminate those position, but they remain on the payroll as a model of government inefficiency.

I forgot to say: They use the bar-code check-out system as well.

Unfortunately, the cards are redundant if you also have a barcode system. The books we get with the cards pre-installed come from McNaughton, and probably they’re sent to all kinds of libraries, including ones that don’t have a barcode reader.

But as far as being unable to get rid of the people who stick those things in there, I have never heard of any kind of librarian’s union. I think, however, that such people would simply be reassigned to other duties.

I was joking about the part about pasting in the pockets.

Part-time civil service employees usually don’t get a lot of union protection anyway.

My library uses a bar code system, but they still print the due date on the old-style card and stick it in the old-style pocket.
I still return books in the old style, two weeks late.

Who knew that there were so many different ways to check out library books? I think that BobT’s explanation that they come that way from the supplier is most likely to be the correct one, as far as my library is concerned. Like I said, they don’t stamp them or put cards in them, they just tell us when the books are due and trust us to remember.

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” Albert Einstein