Brock’s James A. Gibson Library similar to most academic libraries has procedures in place to trace and search for missing books identified as IN LIBRARY. We look for individual books using a list once a day for the first week and then once a week until this process winds down every six months. We strategically complete our missing book procedures to conclusion twice a year in November and August. We then pass on lists to liaison librarians for potential replacement while at the same time suppressing or updating records. Missing books at Brock are only found on average approximately 25% of the time.

Does your library allow patrons to request books using RACER declared as “missing” in your library?
Nipissing: Yes we would after investigating the issue.
Ottawa: We allow students to place RACER requests for material that is missing.
Waterloo: Yes

How does this work knowing that RACER blocks requests for your libraries materials?
Nipissing: We would see when it was marked missing; if recently we would look into the item before approving it.
Ottawa: We mediate the request.
Waterloo: Requester notes in comment box that the item is missing, thus the request awaits mediation by staff. Staff confirm the item is indeed marked missing and authorize the request.

How long does a book need to be declared “missing” before patrons can order an identical copy using RACER?
Nipissing: It would just depend on the circumstance and on the patron need.
Ottawa: As soon as the book is declared missing , patron can order via RACER.
Waterloo: Immediately after it is declared missing (we do a number of searches before the missing status is applied)

If you don’t allow patrons this privilege, why not?

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  1. Response from Queen's:

    We allow students to place RACER requests for material that is ‘missing.’

    During the busy periods we usually place the ‘missing’ status on early so that students are able to place their request through RACER (giving us time to look for our missing copy). We do this, partly, because our hit rate for finding lost or missing material is very low.

  2. Response from York and Toronto Robarts:

    At York, our searching for "not found on shelf" books is similar to what Brock does. If a book is officially declared "Missing" (after the search process), we have no problem with patrons ordering it on RACER. Staff delete us as a location in the rota after verifying in our catalogue that the book is listed as missing.
    At this time of year we get lots of RACER requests for books IN LIBRARY, but that they claim cannot be found. Given the high stress level of students at this point in the term, we do one manual check of the stacks and then proceed with the RACER request. We are less likely to do this in September, when we suggest the student place a "search request" through Circulation.
    I asked our Manager of Circulation Services what the found rate is here for "not on shelf" books, and she said it's low, probably less than 25%. Circ staff look at things like the last time a book circulated and adjust their searching depending if a book was returned a few days ago, or if it hasn't circulated in years. Other issues here are reduced shelving staff, lack of regular shelf-reading, etc.