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Students, take responsibility for returning library books

Nov. 4, 1998

Baylor University libraries launched a new computerized card catalog system earlier this year. BearCat, an updated online system, has introduced a more sophisticated, user-friendly method for locating library materials.

Most students have worked with BearCat by this point in the semester, and the general reaction has been positive. Through our own experience with the system, we have determined that BearCat saves time and does a more thorough search of library materials.

There have been murmurs of discontent, however, about a feature no longer available since BAYLIS was replaced. Students became accustomed to the BAYLIS system sending them automatic e-mail messages just before library books were due. The messages served as a reminder and gave students ample time to return their materials without owing fines for overdue books.

The BearCat system does not send a warning message; instead, students receive notification through e-mail when their books are overdue and they have been fined already .

It is unfortunate that the BearCat system is not designed to send a reminder to students. Such an advanced system that cost so much money to install should have the capability of sending a 'reminder' e-mail message two or three days before books are due. If it is possible to make changes to the BearCat system, we encourage library officials to make this important adjustment. A simple reminder e-mail message, generated automatically, can encourage students to turn in their library materials on time and make those materials available to other students who are waiting on them.

But although it would be convenient, reminder e-mail is not the library system's obligation. College students should not expect to receive help remembering when to return books they have borrowed.

Remembering to turn in a library book is not exceedingly difficult. The due date is stamped inside the cover each time a book is checked out. Though students have dozens of other due dates to remember for their classes and other commitments, we have no right to demand assistance in keeping up with our library books.

College is removed from the real world in so many ways. Library book 'reminder' e-mail is one of the perks we can't expect after we graduate. Why should we expect it now?

If BearCat cannot be improved to send students e-mail messages before their materials are due, students shouldn't complain. It is, after all, our responsibility.

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