Due Date Stamps, A Thing of the Past?

The date-due ink stamp will soon disappear forever, sacrificed in the service of a supposed efficiency. This is yet another example of The Consumer having to do more work. Pump your own gas, scan your own groceries, remove your own gallbladder. So snarks John Kelly in his Washington Post column, "It's a plot".

By the end of June, all public libraries in Montgomery County Maryland will have done away with the date-due stamp, the familiar feature perfected by no less a figure than Melvil Dewey. In its place you will get a printed receipt. You will also get a magnet so you can affix your receipt to the refrigerator.

"It enables us to get the books into the hands of customers faster," Carol Legarreta, the county's public services administrator for branch operations, said by way of explanation. Patrons will be encouraged to manage their accounts online, checking to see when their books are due, reading e-mail reminders sent by the library system.


check out this T-shirt:

Boy that technology fix was a solution in search of a problem...

Actually at the public library in my old hometown they also print out "date due" stickers and slap them on the backs of books (which have a protective coating). They're adhesive enough to stay on with regular use, but not permanent and can be removed with slight effort.

At the self-check out, the machine will print one of these for you to affix yourself. I only use the self-checkout if I find myself waiting in line behind a mother with a huge gaggle of children in tow checking out a huge stack of books for her little ones.

In the academic library where I work, we still use date-due stamps...several of them (one is calibrated to the undergrad student loan period, the other for grad students, and the third for staff/faculty check outs).

Where I worked, they haven't had due date stamps since 1997!

I'm 25. As a regular library user since I was old enough to open a picture book, I didn't encounter a due-date stamp until I entered elementary school. Books (and library cards) were barcoded in the public library system I used in 1986. At this point, I assume that the only systems that stamp due dates are so under-funded that they can't afford to print receipts or, like my public school libraries, can't afford an ILS and still do everything via paper cards. Interesting to see that people still value a physical stamp on a book when the majority of the book-borrowing over my lifetime has revolved around keeping track of a paper slip (or, as I prefer to call it, my readily-available book marker).

My local public library has used this system for years, and I hate it. I'd much rather wait an extra half second to get the due date stamped in every book I have out than to get a single lose-able slip with teeny tiny printing.

And somehow never missed them. A receipt that serves as a bookmarker works just fine, with online record access as a backup. (Given the volume of activity at the local library, and the ease/speed with which people stack five books at a time on the RFID selfcheck stations, I don't see them going back to stamping any time soon...)

My library hasn't use due date stamps in years, and I was thrilled to see them go! Some arguments against:

-They were messy! The ink on ours never seemd to dry quite fast enough - we had a ton of patrons end up with due dates smeared across their hands. (Or clothes!)
-They were time-consuming - sure, they were fine for folks only checking out 1 or 2 items, but if you had a family with a huge stack of picture books, they were a huge pain for everyone!
-They weren't always accurate - we had four different date stampers; one for six week checkouts, one for three week checkouts, one for two weeks checkouts, and one for three day checkouts. Woe unto the poor staff member who was trying to hurry and accidentally grabbed the wrong date stamp!
-They led to more overdue books - with a printed receipt, you have a quick-reference list of all the titles you have checked out and when they're due. With the due date stamps, sure, you had the due date right there on the book, but if one of the kids left the book at school or buried it in the closet, you wouldn't realize it until you started getting overdue notices.

So long, due date stamps, and good riddance!

The ink dries quickly, plus we also give out a receipt. Some of our patrons don't want the receipt, and for those large families, we already reached an agreement with the parent and they will only take the receipt, which they use to make sure everything also gets returned. We also use the date due slip to help determine the last time the item was checked. Our ILS updates the item record anytime it is viewed, so the last activity date is not always an accurate guide in the weeding of the collection.

I'm a 22 year old library assistant. The public libraries I patronize all use the print out a slip method. Both the academic library I used to work at and the special library I currently work at still use date due stamps. To whoever up above equated bar codes with printing slips......we still use bar codes. We just don't print a receipt; we stamp in the book.

I much prefer having the due date stamped in the book instead of having to log into my online account to see when my books are due. However, I see no reason why both systems couldn't exist simultaneously.

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