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MissRosie81's avatar

Library Question - What can I say to defend myself?

Asked by MissRosie81 (251points) January 3rd, 2012

I returned a model kit to my university library today. The kit sat on my desk, unopened, for the time I had it because I ended up not needing to use it. Tonight I got an email from the library saying that several parts were missing and that the kit is signed out to me until I can find them.
The trouble is, I know that I never even opened the kit. I absolutely do not have the “missing parts”, and therefore those parts must have been missing from the kit when I signed it out.

I am so upset. What can I say tomorrow to defend myself? Do I have any ability to defend myself at all? I’m terrified that they will make me pay to replace the kit. What do I say? :(
Any guidance would be extremely appreciated.

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23 Answers

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Tell them exactly what you told us.

Where is this desk?

MissRosie81's avatar

The desk is in my room, so I know that no one else could have opened it.
I just know that they will be so angry and not believe me. I’m a very organized person, and I know I haven’t lost anything.

Bellatrix's avatar

As said above, tell them what you have told us. You may have to provide a signed statement to this effect but don’t go in there all defensive and with your back-up. Be polite. Explain. See what happens.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

@MissRosie81 It doesn’t sound like they know about your situation, so definitely try to say something. Don’t be overly defensive because that might make you look guilty (and we know you’re not). Let them know that you understand the mistake, but you don’t feel that it’s fair because you would never dream of stealing from a library. If you are an honest person to start with (which it sounds like you are), they may be able to see that. They are people and people can make mistakes.

judochop's avatar

I am with everyone else here. Tell them what is going down. Try to keep your cool but if they are not going to listen then insist it is their fault. Occam’s razor is at play here so be careful.

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Stinley's avatar

I used to be a university librarian and if someone explained the situation as you have done here, nice and calm and polite, I would have listened and understood that it wasn’t their fault. The librarians don’t know what has happened to this kit but will be well aware that if it is sitting on a library shelf before being taken out to you, parts could easily have gone missing. You just need to speak to them. Make sure you are speaking to someone with the authority to clear it from your record – ask to speak to your subject librarian or the librarian in charge, not the library assistant.

janbb's avatar

I am also a college librarian. I would also suggest speaking to a reference librarian who has some authority. most of us are helpful by nature and will be understanding. If you don’t know one, observe for a bit and see if you can identify one who is not rule- bound. Also, don’t approach them with av air of entitlement which can get ther back up.

snowberry's avatar

Let us know what happens!

keobooks's avatar

What’s likely to have happened is that the circ person who checked the item in last didn’t check it thoroughly. It had the missing parts before you ever checked the item out in the first place. It happens sometimes—more often if they have volunteers or student assistants. So I think unless you’ve got a real nasty pill in charge, they will believe you. However, they will likely keep a record of you doing this, so you’ll only get to do it once. The second time it happens, they will think you’re fibbing.

One way to prevent this from happening in the future is when you check out a model, open it up at the circ desk. There should be an item checklist in the box or somewhere in their records. Check for each item against the list. Also check to see if any item is damaged. They will still let you check the item out (and if you don’t need those parts, who cares about their status) They will just mark on the item list that the item was missing before you got it.

Even if this takes time and it causes eyerolls at the desk, do it. Some of those kits are costly and you don’t want to shell out cash for them.

edited to add: If there are tons of fiddly bits, check as soon as you can at home, and CALL THEM if there is something missing as soon as you find out. If you come to them with the info, they will be more accommodating.

Eggie's avatar

Explain exactly to them what you have told us, you should not have to pay for something that you are not responsible for. The parts in the kit was missing when you borrowed the kit so be assertive and tell them that you did not lose the parts in the kit.

john65pennington's avatar

The truth will set you free.

GladysMensch's avatar

@keobooks is right on the money, but I will add a bit more. Keep your cool, be as professional as possible. Tell your story, then ask about their process of checking items in, specifically their process for verifying the presence and absence of pieces once checked-in. It’s possible that the kit was incomplete when you received it, if they don’t have a clear and documented process for verifying a complete kit. Who does the check-in? Is there any documentation, or does someone have to sign-off on the kit once checked-in? You’ll be fine if any of their processes are not defined, or there is no documentation verifying a complete kit when it was checked-out to you.

MissRosie81's avatar

Thank you so, so, so much for all of your responses! I am so grateful that I stumbled upon this website and was able to get advice from all of you.

I went into the library first thing this morning to talk to them. They gave me a hard time at first and were quick to put the blame on me, but I took your advice and was very calm and clear and friendly with them. The best route is definitely to be as calm and consistent as possible – I know this now. I made sure they took it off my account so now all is well again. I was SO nervous (I hate confrontation soo much. hahaha).

But really, thanks so much everyone!!!! I was so anxious over this and it was so helpful to have such great advice!

Have a great day!! :) :)

janbb's avatar

Good to hear it!

AnonymousWoman's avatar

You’re welcome. I am glad to hear things worked out for you. I hope you continue to enjoy this site in the future. :)

john65pennington's avatar

Glad it all worked out for you. Like I said….the truth will set you free.

flo's avatar

There is nothing wrong with telling them with what you wrote in your detail. I don’t know how you can prove to them that you didn’t open it, but they have no reason to not accept that you didn’t open it either. So, it is a learning experience for the library, and for the public I guess to see if there is a way of solving this problem.

janbb's avatar

@flo As others have said, usually a clerk would inventory the kit when it is returned before checking it out to the next person. with short budgets and staffs, this may not have happened.

flo's avatar

I didn’t read the answers before me, problem solved

Stinley's avatar

Glad it’s all come good @MissRosie. Well done for sticking to your guns and staying calm.

Eggie's avatar

Glad things worked out for you….and remember you can always get a good advice here….it has helped me too.

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