Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL)

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University Library Australia
a national borrowing scheme for students and staff

Aids for Library Staff

Updated 18 August, 2008
Checklist for borrower registration Web page template

FAQ for ULA library staff:

Q. If the home library has paid the replacement costs of its member's lost book from a host library, and the book is subsequently found and returned, should the host library be required to refund the payment to the home library?

A. The matter should be pursued directly between the home library and the borrower in this case. The host library has already done extra administrative paperwork to produce the invoice etc.

A home library would be expected to actively pursue the student before seeing it as a lost cause and parting with any money on their behalf to the host library. The onus should be on the home library to manage this.

Q. There was no expectation at CAUL that the scheme would be free. While agreeing with administrative simplicity, the traffic we receive could be distorted simply because it is free. Also, it is not fair on those who are paying under a state scheme.

A. At this stage, if a borrower is eligible under that state scheme then they are not eligible for the ULA. As per the document, the discrepancy is justified : "The question of inequity between RBS and ULA borrowers may be addressed by the significantly lower level of demand expected by ULA borrowers, and in the spirit of national cooperation."

We don't know that there will be any distortion. In the interest of simplicity, it was preferred to wait to see if there was any distortion.

Q. Registrations on the spot may cause some problems unless the person is armed with a letter of indemnity - otherwise, how do we know whether they are in good standing?

A. In the expectation that the numbers, if any, of "known" delinquents registering would be small, and in the interest of simplicity, we concluded that proof of current enrolment/employment would be sufficient.

Q. Online application will be fine but, of course, if we do charge a fee then this is not currently collectable online

A. It was another reason for not charging fees.

Q. May need to think about the implications with TAFE - we only allow reciprocal borrowing with TAFE Illawarra.

A. The scheme is for AVCC members only. So TAFEs that are not part of a university won't be eligible anyway. For TAFEs which are part of a university, and whose student cards do not distinguish between TAFE and university, then it was decided, in the interest of simplicity, that either they would self-select themselves out and not apply (when they have read the guidelines that say "university") or that they will apply and be allowed in. It is assumed that the numbers would be insignificant.

Q. Proof of current employment/affiliation of staff. I suspect that most universities are like ours in that a staff member gets a card, and unless there is a new system, the card will remain valid for a long time. Departing staff members do not turn in their cards and we often do not know when they are leaving. But locally it is no problem, because the staff database provides the connection to borrowing (if no longer a member of staff, the id will not validate on the computer). Some university libraries may have to find a way to validate cards annually.

A. This is why we have specified proof of current .... so it might be an ID card with a date, or a pay slip, or a letter from the university, or being able to get at the current loan record, etc

Q. "Libraries which issue cards will be responsible for the person who holds it" This refers to the home institution I guess; it could read that if a host library issues a special card for the borrower (which may be necessary with need for compatible barcodes) then they are responsible.

A. We may need to clarify "Libraries which issue ID cards ...." - your other interpretation wasn't considered.

Q. Notification of delinquent borrowers at least one a year... I think it should be more often, if possible. Quarterly???

A. The host library is the one to choose here, and they may prefer to do it more regularly. However we are trying not to impose any unnecessary administrative burdens on the host library. This is why we made it "at least one a year"

Q. Statistics of registrants by home institution. This is very important, and we should be encouraged to do this. Especially if the matrix showing cross-institution borrowing (no. 27) is put into effect (and I think it should be).

Statistics: "Some institutions may not be able to track details of the home institution". What does this mean? If one cannot identify the home institution from the id card, then one should not be issuing borrowing rights to the holder of the card. Am I missing something here?

A. This means to track in the library system. There may not be enough borrower categories for the other 37 universities' students, p/g and staff. We hope there will be but believe that not all systems can cope right now.

Q.. ... how long to register... I presume this means the time taken to effect a registration, not the validity of the registration (which I understand to be until 28 February of the following year).

A. Correct.

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This site is written, compiled and maintained by Diane Costello, Executive Officer, CAUL.