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Library Circulation System Interview Report

Library Description and Circulation Policies

As soon as possible, choose a library to visit in person. This can be any type of library: public, academic, school or special, but staff there must use an automated circulation system, preferably one that you are not familiar with. An automated circulation system is usually part of an integrated library system or library services platform.

Make contact with a staff person who supervises or works in the circulation department (in a larger library) or who spends some of his/her time doing circulation work (in a smaller library). Do not interview someone who works in the same library or library system as you do, or someone who you previously knew. You should use this opportunity to broaden your network of library contacts and find out about a library with which you aren’t very familiar. Note that for this assignment, unlike the interview assignment in Intro to Libraries, there is no requirement regarding the educational background of your interviewee.

Make an appointment to interview the staff person in person about the circulation system, and if they can give you a brief demonstration of the computer system at that time. Ask for the name and vendor of the system, so you can do some advance research.

It would be helpful to do some research on this circulation system before you conduct your interview. Review the online presence of the computer system’s vendor and do other research to find out as much as possible about the system in advance. Also, review the library’s online presence to see what information is posted there about the library’s circulation policies.

Write a report about the interview. Include the following in your report:

Title page, including your name, instructor=s name, course code, due date and title

Table of contents

Introduction to library (brief description of the library and their circulation policies)

Introduction to the computer system used for circulation (based on your research)

User information maintained by the computer system

Registration procedures

The use of barcodes and security systems (RFID or other)

Check in and check out procedures, including self check-out if available

Material and user alerts/blocks/messages

How renewals and holds are handled

How overdues and fines are handled

If/how concerns regarding user privacy affect circulation work at this library

If the system records each user’s borrowing history

User self-service options for circulation activities

If the library takes inventory on a regular basis, if/how the system is used for this

If/how information from the system is used for weeding

How circulation is done when there is a power outage or the system is down

Statistical reports generated by the system

Conclusion (strengths and weaknesses of the computer system identified by staff, how it compares to what you expected from your research)

Include a Works Cited list in MLA format of the sources you used, including a citation for your interview.

It is recommended that you use headings in your submission to show how you’ve organized your information. Please write your submission in sentences and paragraphs, and not in question and answer format.

Re-read the portion of Lecture 1 on automated circulation systems before you do this assignment. You should provide more detail than the profile of the system there, but you can use it as a guideline for your own report. An appropriate length for this report would be 1500 - 2500 words.

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