New return policy allows students to return books to any campus library

Giana Tansman/Staff

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Students at UC Berkeley will no longer have to make cross-campus treks to return library books, thanks to a new universal return system that went into effect Aug. 27.

The new system will allow students to return books to any library on campus, regardless of where the book was originally checked out, excluding certain special items like maps, reserves and interlibrary loans along with materials from the Berkeley Law Library.

In the past, if a student returned a book to a different library than the one it was checked out from, books would stay checked out to that student until the books made their way back to the original library — a process that could take a few days, according to Associate University Librarian Beth Dupuis.

Before becoming available to the entire campus population this semester, the universal return system went through a pilot program last fall with faculty members and then expanded to graduate students in the spring. The program is now available to undergraduates as well, making it easier for the campus community to check out and return books.

“Once we knew that this would make the library more convenient and accessible for students and faculty, it was our top priority to make it a reality,” Dupuis said.

In a campuswide library survey administered in May, students indicated interest in the universal return system.

“I appreciate the convenience of not having to scramble around campus to return books,” said Ryan Whitacre, a first-year graduate student in the anthropology department.

To ensure that books will be transported effectively, the library system has extended the schedule of the mail delivery truck that delivers books between the libraries, according Dupuis. The new return system will not cost the libraries more money in terms of staffing or resources, Dupuis said.

“The tricky thing was working out the policies and logistics, not the cost,” she said.

Brittany Jahn covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected]