or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Book Due Date Calendar

   April 20th, 2010

Overdue Book CalendarI feel a little sheepish whenever I talk about a product on here, because I don't want to come off sounding like a commercial. But I thought this Book Due Date Calendar was a good idea.

It's available on Etsy from a seller called Aunt June, and it's a fun and creative way for patrons to keep track of when their library books are due.

Paper for our receipt printers is expensive, so we ask people if they need a receipt instead of printing one automatically - which means many people leave the library without any tangible reminder of when their books are due back. I've seen libraries use due date bookmarks, which are also a good idea, but this calendar was colorful and definitely eye-catching enough to be a great reminder (especially for kids) - kind of like a real-world Library Elf.

Here's what it looks like in action:

Overdue Book Calendar

It looks like you download a pdf, which is nice because you can print out extras if you're a heavy library user. I wonder if you could print it onto some kind of glossy paper that might work like a dry erase board. I also wonder if the seller would be willing to work out some deal with libraries to let them sell these as fundraisers.

Thanks for the tip Lauren.

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8 Responses to “Book Due Date Calendar”

  1. Natasha A. Says:

    That is very cool! You could laminate the pages so you could reuse!
    I was sad when Library Elf decided to start charging for many of its previous free things 🙁

  2. Winnie Says:

    Umm, we use a date stamp? And stamp each item with it’s due date? We use scrap paper for the date due slip, the last time we bought the stamps was in 2000 and the ink pads last just as long with re-inking. Does this solve the cost issue for the library and knowledge issue for the your patrons?

  3. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Natasha: I know, them charging made me sad too.

    @Winnie: When we switched to receipt printers, we stopped stamping due dates in the books. It lets the circ staff work faster, but it is a sad loss of information and history of the books. And obviously, sort of counter-productive if we try to save money by not printing receipts.

  4. Winnie Says:

    I know we are considerd “old-fashioned” because we don’t use a receipt printer. How much faster is it to circ without stamping? And if the receipt printer is expensive is there any real saving. We have people come in who are so relieved that we stamp each book and then give us a rant about how stupid the receipts are.

  5. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Winnie: I don’t know if anyone has done a time study (actually, I’m sure someone has), but I think it probably is significantly faster. After finding and scanning the barcode, finding the place to stamp, inking the stamp and then stamping the book probably only adds 2-3 seconds to each transaction. However, add up those seconds from thousands of checkouts per day, and it becomes a difference of hours.

    And even though a printer+paper is more expensive than stamp+ink, is probably cheaper than another staff person to make up for the extra time.

    So, it does make sense for high-volume libraries or those who are short-staffed, but not necessarily for every library. Besides, I still lament the loss of the information (and ease for patrons) that you get with stamping.

    Of course, there are also those patrons who love getting receipts because they consider it their built-in bookmark.

  6. Heather Says:

    I now miss the days of stamping books (even though it was before my time). You don’t know how many patrons I have to listen to complain because they lost the receipt, or argue because it was due this day and not that day. Stamping in the books would seem like a easier solution, also because I am a paper Nazi and I hate the way we go through trees!

  7. Vickie Says:

    Actually, Brian, in your library, they don’t even offer to print the receipt. Most patrons say they don’t want it anyway (except the few who use it as a bookmark.) Perhaps your patrons are very tech-savvy and log in to their account online to keep track of things.
    As for the due date calendar, it is very cute, but I think it’s impractical. I don’t see many folks writing down all their titles & due dates – I wouldn’t, but then again, I am rather lazy.

  8. http://print-xclusive.com Says:

    Really no matter if someone doesn’t know then its up to other people that they will help, so here it occurs.