I just got a recall for a book I desperately need. What happens if I don't return it?
We understand your frustration about having a book that you need recalled.
Recalls are an important tool for ensuring fair access to shared resources for all members of the Harvard community. The current practice was established by the University Faculty Committee and guarantees 10 days of use for borrowed material. After this period, any item charged to a patron (whether faculty, undergraduate, graduate student, staff member, or special borrower) is eligible to be recalled for use by any other patron.
Since overdue recalled materials are subject to fines, it is important to return recalled items promptly. If you still require use of the book after the recall date, there are several options available to you:
- Scanning or copying the portions of the book you need. Free public scanners are available at most Harvard libraries.
- If another copy exists in the Harvard Library collection you can borrow that copy
- Request a copy from another library through Borrow Direct
- If a copy is not available through Borrow Direct, try Interlibrary Loan
- If none of these options are available, you can place a recall of your own