Volume 11, Number 6
26 October 2004

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Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,
When I was checking my e-mail on October 4, I saw the library announcement, and I was delighted to see online renewal capability finally arriving at our university. The maximum number of books that we the students can borrow from the library and the loan periods for checked-out books are already below standard, thus online renewal could at least alleviate the situation. However, I was soon dismayed to find out that that "privilege" had been reserved only for the faculty. Since I have always felt that as a Bilkent student, I was receiving an education that competed with that at the finest institutions around the world, I decided to check the policies of libraries at the top US universities, using the rankings of US News & World Report magazine (details of my study may be found at: http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/~akpinar/onlinerenewal.htm).

I was surprised to find out that at some of those schools, renewals were possible not only through a web page, but also by telephone, email, and even fax. But I was not surprised to see that none of the top ten US universities made any distinction between the faculty and the rest of their community regarding renewal policies. Clearly, there is no basis for denying this service to the other members of the Bilkent community. There is no technological barrier; the loan privileges are already very limited, and renewal is possible only if no one has placed a reserve on the checked-out item. I know that Bilkent students are as responsible as the students in those American universities, and they work just as hard (well, maybe not me). There is no reason that Bilkent students should not enjoy the same level of reader privileges at our library.

Kürşad U. Akpınar,
Ph.D. Candidate, HIST

Response to the Letter
Dear Mr. Akpınar,
As you can imagine, a change in the BLISS program, no matter what effort has gone into "perfecting" it, invariably causes problems when first put into use. This is true of the recent move to allow faculty members to renew their library materials online. Faculty are allowed to borrow the greatest number of items and their books were due on October 6, so this privilege was extended first to them. The problems that cropped up are being ironed out before allowing other user groups to renew online.
It is disappointing when taking a positive step to receive only criticism for not having taken more steps immediately!

Dr. Phyllis L. Erdoğan
University Librarian

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