Thursday, November 13, 2008
Well apparently I live in the Scottish council area with more missing books from its library service than any other. West Lothian has apparently got £51, 218 of missing stock. I would like to assure you dear readers that I personally have no outstanding library books, at the time of writing.
It appears that the council in order to regain this missing stock are about to call in a debt recovery service. Now I've not seen any signs recently advertising a late returns amnesty or anything similar to attempt to draw in the missing stock (I may have missed it and this step could already have been taken). It may well be that some of that stock has been forgotten about and when found the possible late fine is too much for the person with the book decided that it was better to forget about the ensuing fine.
An amnesty of course may not totally work, but what is the cost to employ a debt recovery service to get these books returned? Has anyone done a cost benefit analysis of taking such action for these particular library books? Assuming an average cost of £10 per book, that would be about 5,000 books out there somewhere in West Lothian. The average Library user you would assume as between 3 to 5 books at any time. Say there are 1,500 households involved. The debt recovery service would then be mailing out, possibly with visitation is nothing is forthcoming after a number of mailings.
Seeing as I still get mail for the two previous residents of the flat I've lived in for 30 months depending how far back these missing books go back, in a transient, contractor style environment like West Lothian is at times. It is possible that many of those addressees are no longer present at the address where they registered for their library card. I hope someone at the council has done something obvious, like compare names and addresses of late returnees against say the electoral roll and written to them first if they matched. Rather than this simply being another case of Nationalists wanting control of all the minutiae of people's lives.