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Library circulation or library lending comprises the activities around the lending of library books and other material to users of a lending library. A circulation or lending department is one of the key departments of a library.
The main public service point is the circulation desk or loans desk, usually found near the main entrance of a library. It provides lending services and facilities for return of loaned items. Renewal of materials and payment of fines are also handled at the circulation desk. Circulation staff may provide basic search and reference services, though more in-depth questions are usually referred to reference librarians at the library reference desk. The circulation desk is in most cases staffed by library support staff instead of professional librarians.
Functions of the circulation desk staff may include:
- Lending materials to library users
- Checking in materials returned
- Monitoring materials for damage and routing them to the appropriate staff for repair or replacement
- Troubleshooting circulation technology, i.e. library circulation software, scanners, printers, etc.
- Collecting statistics on library use, i.e. patron transactions, material checkouts, etc.
- Creation of borrowers pockets, i.e. when using The Brown issuing system
- Charging and receipting overdue fines.
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