Journalism reserves stolen from library

Professors provide replacement books for stolen library reserve copies.

Within the first two weeks of this spring semester, at least two books went missing from the circulation desk, leaving many students without the option of reading their class textbook on reserve.

“I’ve been putting book on reserve for 27 years in various schools and this is the first time I’ve had one stolen,” said Terry Finnegan, a Journalism Professor of “Writing for Broadcasting”, a course new to American River College this semester.

“I find it appalling,” said Professor Kel Munger, whose personal copy of the textbook on reserve for JOUR 300 also went missing. “The idea that a student would deprive other students of access to a valuable resource is simply unconscionable.”

To check out a book on reserve, students must provide a student access card at the circulation desk, along with the “call number” for that book, and must return the book within the designated time period.

Rental times range from one hour to two weeks, depending on the professors’ request. However, according to an email written to Finnegan by Melissa Karas, Lead Library Media Technical Assistant at ARC, the book for JOUR 350 was checked out using a stolen access card, leaving almost no way of tracking down the actual student who checked out the book.

“While we do check the picture on the card, the person who stole the book was similar looking to the picture,” Karas said. “Unfortunately, our cameras aren’t good enough to get a closer look at the person who took the item.”

On top of rising tuition costs, textbooks are a large expense for students. Professors put books on reserve to ease that burden.

“There are some kids who… can’t afford to rent one and they can’t afford to purchase one. It’s a courtesy to them,” said Finnegan.

Munger, who provided her personal copy of the book to the library said, “Like many of my students, I am now out of a substantial amount of money if it is, in fact, gone for good.”

To replace the textbook, Finnegan and Munger must either request a new book from the publisher or personally provide their own copy again.

For Finnegan, it’s not that the book was stolen, but how he found out about its loss that disappoints him the most.

“What really upset me is that I wasn’t notified by the library, I was told by a student,” he said. “I should have been notified by [the library] because it was a book I gave them and entrusted to them, and it lasted six days.”

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