I'm sorry we lost your book; it was swallowed by the sea.

As I mention in the "What's the Point" section over to the right...Renee and I are not librarians. 

I can absolutely appreciate that libraries& librarianship have their own history; a way they came about and a journey in regard to what they have come to be. 

That being said, some of said history is giggle-worthy for me. In this case, it's not just the history, but the earnest citing and adherence that made me lqtm (laugh quietly to myself). 

We work in interlibrary loan - which (though we do more than just ILL) is exactly what it sounds like...loaning items between libraries. In regard to lost books, Interlibrary Law (which reminds me "spirit law" in the Bring It On movies) states that once the lending library has placed an item in the mail to the borrowing library, they (the lending library) are no longer responsible for the item. Once it's been mailed - the borrowing library is responsible for it until it ultimately returns to it's home. 

This has been a subject of debate b/c when/if a book is lost in the mail - someone has to be responsible for recovery cost, etc... According to the rule, the borrowing library will be responsible...period. 

Our supervisor forwarded a message today from one of the listservs she follows; the message is in response to this debate. I'm not mocking, mind you, but I did find it to be...humorous. Okay, maybe I'm mocking a little. The following is from a gentleman who works at a medical library in Miami, FL. 

"This has been discussed MANY times on this list, and your interpretation is more than an interpretation, it's the way it is. This sacred rule of ILL dates back to when King Khufu's ship was losing papyrus scrolls over the side in its journeys along the Nile. It was actually drafted and set in force by the head librarian, Marion the Sumerian, at the Royal Library of Alexandria, if memory serves. Ptolomeic code 11427, para. 3, sp. 36. Loosely translated from what remains of the original hieroglyph: ""If the library of the 1st part requests an item from the library of the 2nd part, then the library of the 1st part shall be ultimately responsible for the item's safe passage to and from the library of the 2nd part, even in the event that the contracted courier comes under attack by pirates and/or crocodiles. Even if Osiris shall cause the sea to boil and swallow the ship up. So shall it be written, so shall it be done."" Seriously. I'm not kidding!"