Frustrated by Missing Books? Here’s What to Do.

I would like to express my disappointment with the library service about borrowing books. I am a first-year doctoral student who needs to write tons of papers, which means, it is important for me to locate and borrow books from the library with high efficiency. However, my experience in borrowing books in this semester has been very unsatisfied. After I locate the books that are supposed to be on-shelf indicated in searching on “Summon,” I usually find some of them missing on the shelves. Then I need to talk to a librarian to request a book from E-Z Borrow. It turns out that many of the books that appear as available on searching on “Summon” are actually missing.

Thanks for sharing your concerns about searching for a book in the stacks only to find that it is not there. I find that pretty frustrating myself when it happens. But let me share what I do when it does. I follow the same procedures available to any member of the Temple University community.

Like you, first I will seek out assistance from a staff member. Look for our student assistants who are wearing red staff vests. They can assist you by checking to make sure the book location information you have is correct and the correct location has been visited. If you don’t see a staff member in the area, visit the Stacks Supervisor office which is room 211 on the second floor of Paley Library.

If the book is not immediately located you should submit a “Missing Book” search form found at:  This will notify our staff to do a more thorough search throughout the library in the next 24-48 hours. You will then receive an email on the status of the search.

This will also help us to identify books that are missing so we can change their status on our online catalog. If books are missing and we don’t hear about it, there’s no way we can search for them or update their status on our system.

If the book is not found after the staff search for it, then you may want to search for and request it using E-Z Borrow. Just to clarify, you do not need a library staff member to request a book from E-Z Borrow for you. It is completely self-service. If you need assistance to learn how to use it, please ask a staff member for instructions.

One last thing, please know that we are currently preparing to move our collections to the new library. Yes, even though it opens in 2018 we still need a substantial amount of lead time to prepare for the move. We are currently identifying all the books that need new barcodes. As a result, many books are waiting to be processed. So something you are searching for may be on a book truck waiting for processing. If you notify us about a missing book, then we can hopefully locate it among those waiting for processing.

Since we don’t like missing books either, we will do everything we can to keep them from going missing. But when they do we are here to help you locate them or obtain them from another library.

Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian
Temple University Libraries