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A new recession indicator in law firms?

Missing books.
You know the Library bought them.
You know they were on the shelf.
Now they're missing.
And they ain't been signed out on the system.
But someone out there has them.

So...first, you do a shelf check in the areas surrounding where it should be. People have a tendancy to see a gap in the approximate area where the book they borrowed came from, and just shove it back in there. Apparently, an alphabetical system of spine letters, and shelf edge guides stating the topic books in that area cover is too taxing on the brain. Obviously employment law books are just as at home nestled in with planning law as they would be with their other employment law book friends.

Then...you do the desk check of the likely culprits, all of whom deny ever having seen any book at all, let alone that specific one, or god forbid, that they actually used it. Sometimes they'll even deny knowledge of its existence, and demand that it be passed to them when it's found, as I've let them down by not reading their mind that they wanted it, and personally placing it in their hands the moment it arrived. It would appear that my mission in life is merely to falsely accuse innocent people of using books, and hide the books that come in from them so they can never use them. I am a bad librarian.

Then...you do the office-wide email, putting the author and title in the email headline so peeps can skim and delete the email without opening if it's not relevant to them, to save them time. Now you sit back and wait for the flood out out-of-office emails to calm down before you can get on with anything.

Then...you get the "hilarious" email responses. Top replies include: I'm using it as a doorstop; I'm using it as a pillow; I took it home cos it's my favourite; I took it home cos I have insomnia and it'll help me sleep; I sold it on eBay; My dog ate it.
All of these are new and fresh, every time.

Then...you trawl around the local area via email, seeing if any nearby, friendly librarians would let you borrow their copy for a short time. This involves making winsome faces and partial begging. The things we do for our users...

Then...you go to an institutional, membership library, and borrow their copy...if they have it in. You may have to go and collect it personally, or it may be posted out to you. Either way, it's not going to be with the requester instantly.

As you can imagine, all of this eats up time. So...while I'm happy that things are picking up, judging by the volume of books constantly being asked for...I WISH THEY'D SIGN THEM OUT!

;)

Comments

James Mullan said…
Are you saying that fee-eaners are hoarding these books and selling them on ebay to make some money for the firm/themselves?

I have another two for you, when the book is checked out and you contact the fee-earner who says oh yes I asked X/Y and Z to return that for me is it not down there? or it has been checked out to someone who left 4 years ago...write that one off straight away!
Anonymous said…
*applause*

Excellent rant! Made you feel better?

I've got one more to add - when Lawyer A says "oh yes, I had it, but Lawyer B took it!", then Lawyer B explains that they took it on behalf of Lawyer C; who swears blind he either never saw it, or gave it straight back to Lawyer A. Going round in circles is fun!

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