Battling Gelman

In the April 9 issue of The Hatchet, University Librarian Jack Siggins stated that Gelman is “working hard to try to find out what improvements students want”(“Gelman sets sights on customer service,” p.2).

Gelman could start by taking responsibility for its own actions.

Last week I lost a four-month battle with Gelman over a book I returned the first week in December. In January, Gelman claimed it was overdue; rather than taking my word that I had indeed returned it, it instead chose to keep me in a bureaucratic wringer.

I could fill an entire page with the details, such as ALADIN’s terminals stating that the book had been overdue since 1903 or the library employees who reminded me that, “You really should return your books on time,” but it would be pointless.

I wrote a letter to Mr. Siggins and Circulation Director Brian Miller stating my concerns and emphasizing above all else that I refused to be held responsible for a book I did not lose. Gelman chose to ignore that point, and I was informed that if I did not pay $90 for the book’s loss, an encumbrance would be placed on my record, which would render me unable to register for classes, receive my grades or even graduate. At this point I should mention that the book in question is a 30-page government pamphlet.

I finally sent the payment in a prepaid, bar-coded envelope provided by Gelman and – by this point it is hardly a surprise – Gelman claims they never received it. I had to call my bank, cancel the first check (an additional $25 charge), and write a new one.

Although Gelman’s employees were apologetic for their lack of efficiency, not once in the four months I battled the charges did a single employee admit that Gelman could have lost the book. Rather than simply admitting that yes, its employees made a mistake, I was held responsible for it. I lost $115 for nothing. Despite my appeals, Gelman does not seem to understand that I find being held financially responsible for someone else’s error morally repugnant; having the threat of not being able to register for classes hanging over my head borders on extortion.

As both a student and a University employee, it does me no good to strive for professional and ethical excellence if other branches can lose University property and blame someone else for it. It also does me no good to work in the first place if entire paychecks can be randomly extorted for no reason other than an unfortunate lack of professional responsibility on the part of the Gelman Library.

.-The writer is a sophomore .

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.