Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thou Shalt Not Incur Late Fees: The Magic of Remote Renewals and Proxy Patrons

Image courtesy of Library Funnies on Pinterest.
Late fees and penalties are everywhere.  Late with your electric bill?  Your power may be cut off.  Miss a credit card payment?  Interest accrues.  Late returning library materials to the TWU Libraries in Denton or Dallas?  A bothersome late fee is applied to your account.

Humans are not perfect.  Incurring irksome late fees is understandable—but also avoidable.  The TWU Libraries in Denton and Dallas offer, for our patrons' convenience, several methods of keeping those pesky late fees at bay.

Your First Line of Defense: Simple Knowledge
When you check out an item from one of our libraries, a due date is stamped onto the book or other item; you are also told this same date.  Dates are easy to forget, however, so borrowers also receive weekly email updates (look for Borrowing Activity Letter in big, bold letters at the top. You may need to adjust your email settings so that emails from circ@twu.edu don’t go straight into your spam folder.)

The Magic of Remote Renewals
Well, things happen.  You’re a busy college student or faculty or staff member and you’ve overlooked that due date, your library materials are due—and you still need them.  The TWU Libraries recognize that academic life is stressful, whether you’re learning or teaching or working or all three—and now this.  How can you keep the materials you need without incurring late fees?  Through the magic of remote renewals.

A remote renewal is a renewal of library materials accomplished without a trip back to the library.  Wait, there’s more--you get two of these wonderful experiences per checkout!  Think about it.  This means that if you’re an undergraduate student, you could conceivably keep a book for nine weeks after visiting the library once.  Of course, there are stipulations--you can renew certain items (like regularly circulating books) only twice; you cannot renew an item if there is a hold on it; and you cannot renew ILL or Reserve items (for a complete rundown of the rules and regs, see the Renew Materials page of the TWU Libraries website.)

Great.  A remote renewal is what you want.  How do you make this wonderful thing happen?  Either online or by phone.

Online renewal is available to currently enrolled students and faculty and staff members (courtesy card patrons must renew materials by phone; see below for details.)  Just follow these simple steps:

~Click My Account (in the maroon box titled TWUniversal Search, under the words Advanced Search.)
~You’ll be directed to a login page.  If not, click Sign In (in the upper righthand corner of the screen.)
~Log in with your Pioneer Portal information.
~Click My Account again (now located in the upper righthand corner of your screen.)
~A list of items checked out to you will appear.  Click on the items you want to renew; click Renew Items.
~Finally, make sure the due dates have changed for the items you want to renew.  If they have, congratulations!  You have successfully renewed your items using remote renewal.

These instructions are also available on the Renew Materials page.  If the internet isn’t your thing and the library isn’t open, call 940-898-3786 (Denton) or 214-689-6602 (Dallas) and follow the prompts.  During normal operating hours in Denton, call 940-898-3719 to renew materials; in Dallas, call 214-689-6580.  Remember--after two remote renewals, you must bring an item into the library if you wish to renew it.  Courtesy card patrons can renew items by remote renewal once, by calling 940-898-3719 (Denton campus library) or 214-689-6580 (Dallas Center Library.)

Proxy Patron Service for TWU Faculty Members
Remote renewal is an exciting service offered to all TWU Libraries patrons in Denton and Dallas, and a great way to keep those late fees from piling up.  But what if, as a faculty member, you’ve renewed your items twice by remote renewal, they’re now due, you can't make it to the library, and you still need your materials?  Sounds like you could use a proxy patron.

The TWU Libraries’ proxy patron service is available to all TWU faculty members.  Through this service, faculty members may designate a student or staff member as their proxy patron, who is then able to check out and return library materials on their behalf.  Simply let the libraries know who your proxy is (at the Circulation Desk or online), and that proxy can then conduct library business for you for as long as they work with you (if at any time you need to change or add a proxy, follow this same procedure.)

Everybody hates late fees, so the TWU Libraries do their best to help our patrons combat them.  From email reminders to remote renewals to the proxy patron service for faculty members, we do our best to make sure you enjoy—without fear of late fees or inconvenience--the time you spend with us and the resources we make available. 

~Jason Mims

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