I am writing to complain about missing books that are listed as in the library in the online card catalog. I usually just let it slide, but today marked the third time this week that a book I need is listed and is not on the shelves. Please address this issue. I know it is a big collection, but this has to be addressed.
Thank you for sharing your concerns about the frequency with which books are not found on the shelves of Paley Library where they are supposed to be located. Please be assured that nothing would please us more than to unravel the mystery of missing books. Our shelving team is well trained and capable of getting the books into their proper shelf location. Still, there are any number of reasons why books go missing, including everything from patrons reshelving books in the wrong spot after browsing them, human error, intentional misplacement and even theft. As you point out the collection is vast, and it simply isn’t possible or practical to constantly read the shelves or inventory the books to check for missing items.
We have policies in place for quickly replacing missing books when we learn of them. The problem is that our community members may not report something that is missing. Unless we are informed about missing items, we won’t know they need to be replaced. It is easy to notify us about a missing book – just use the form on our website. Once a book is reported missing we will follow up by searching for it several times. If we fail to find it we will report it to book selectors who then decide whether a book is worth replacing. But if someone is requesting it we’ll obtain a copy. Alternately, if our copy is missing try using EZ-Borrow to quickly order and obtain the book from another Pennsylvania.
If you book(s) are missing try to avoid giving up in frustration. Please visit our Circulation/ Reserve Desk for assistance or use the form to report a missing book. We will do our best to get it for your quickly.
And for the long-term outlook, we are currently exploring technologies that will help us to conduct more frequent shelf inventories so we will know what is there and what’s not.