>The Reserve Wrapper Conundrum

>Since I have started working at my little library, we have always used rubber bands to secure our reserve wrappers. Since I have started working at my little library, I have hated this. I have brought it up to my manager several times that we need to figure out a new system for wrapping our reserves. He has given me several reasons why this will never happen, the number one reason being that our library system is mostly comprised of tenured librarians who dislike change.

Now the system isn’t terrible, but it is bad. There are many reasons why this system does not work, here they are:

1. It wastes paper.

An entire 8×11 sheet of paper is used. If you can print the reserve wrappers on scrap paper, it saves on the amount of paper you use. We don’t, however, generate enough scrap paper to cover all the reserves. The problem with this is that you can not re-use the reserve wrapper paper because it contains patron information and that needs to be shredded.

2. The rubber bands are hard on our paperback books, especially graphic novels. They also do not work on magazines.

When placed on mass market paperbacks, the rubber bands tend to destroy the edges of the books and leave marks on the cover (after repeated “rubberbanding”). Flimsy magazines and graphic novels are also difficult to manage with rubberbands. I have since begun to use paperclips on the flimsy reserve material, but the paperclips are just as hard on the books.

3. The reserve wrappers have to be folded a certain way which isn’t an efficient use of staff time.

Each reserve wrapper has to be folded so that the necessary information is displayed. This means that for each form of media we have in the library the reserve wrapper must be folded a different way. Thus, you have a folding technique for library bound books, mass market paperbacks, DVD’s, CD’s, children’s books, magazines, graphic novels, audiobooks and newsletters. This takes a considerable amount of time when you begin to realize that each item on the the retrieval list must be scanned 2-3 times, the wrapper has to be printed, then folded, then wrapped/banded around each book. We spend 30-60 min just wrapping books in the morning.

4. The reserve wrappers are easily seen by the general public.

We are constantly being reminded of patron confidentiality, but the reserve wrappers (large, bold black letters on white paper) are easily seen by anyone who comes to the desk. This means that if you check out a book for a school project on pornography, a friend/family member could see your name + the name of the book you have reserved. This could lead to some awkward conversations. Just the other day we were scanning reserves in and the stack of books next to me was being read off by a patron standing at the desk. I have put the books on the floor, but that is not physically efficient. I have tried to get all of the books scanned before we open, but the names of the patrons are still visible on our reserve shelf.

5. I doubt it is cost effective.

I can not begin to imagine how much our library system spends on paper each year, but it can’t be pretty. Not only do we print reserve wrappers, but also advertisements, brochures, signs, flyers, personal forms, etc… The reserve wrappers are by far our most printed item and I think that we could improve/streamline the system so that our budget could be adjusted.

6. Librarians within our system print off multiple wrappers for batch reserves.

Say that Mary Jane Manga reserves Inuyasha 1-54. I would print off 1 reserve wrapper for every 4-5 books. Our library system, however, looks down on that. I have been fussed at (not by my manager who agrees that we should print off as few wrappers as possible) by other librarians within our system that each book needs to have its own reserve wrapper. That means that instead of printing off 13-14 wrappers, they would print off 54 individual wrappers, which would then have to be shredded afterward.

As far as alternatives go, I have tried to think of other ways in which we could still label our reserves. Stickers, slips of scrap paper, no labels which requires an extra scan. As of right now I have not found a good way to label the reserves that would eliminate the problems we have with the paper/rubber band options.


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