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Please enjoy the second installment of Ask Ms. Shelved, the irregularly scheduled advice column from HHSL!

Dear Ms. Shelved,

Classes are back in session, and exams are in full swing. I *thought* I couldn’t be happier to be back in the Hirsh Health Sciences Library, seeing my friends, checking out phone chargers, and studying. But Ms. Shelved, the Library is not the fairy-tale peaceful place I left back in December. Harmony has been shattered. Peace has been broken. Calm has been swept away in a torrent of dastardly despoilment and brutal banditry.

My laptop has been STOLEN.

Filched, lifted, pinched, purloined, snatched! The thief apparently crept in, like a raccoon to a birdfeeder, when I left my laptop in a study room to grab some lunch, go to Macy’s, and hit up a lecture. It was sitting right there, with my water bottle and my books! How could someone think it was available to take?

Ms. Shelved, please publish my letter as a service to other students! There is a thief in Sackler!


Snatched in Sackler


Dear Snatched,

I do publish your letter as a public service, but not to warn our fair friends of foul fences afoot! I implore you, nay, ALL students using the Library to remember that #thefthappens. While we all want to think the best of our fellow students, and to place absolute trust in our systems, it is possible for people to wind up where they do not belong, and even for our classmates to run afoul of the law.

Remember, you are responsible for your property. Library staff cannot monitor your belongings, and will not watch them for you while you run an errand or go to class. Don’t even think of asking to leave your stuff behind the Desk, it’s rude to expect these active agents of academia to forsake their sworn duties in order to mind your bookbag.

University Policy offers Tips for Personal Property Security, and remember to contact them on the appropriate campus to report crime or suspicious activity. Hopefully others will learn from your example, Snatched. In the meantime, you can check out a laptop from the Library to assist with your studying. Remember to return it to an actual human person and don’t leave it on the desk or in the bookdrop!

Ever yours,

Ms. Shelved




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Please enjoy the inaugural edition of Ask Ms. Shelved, the new, irregularly scheduled advice column from HHSL!

Dear Ms. Shelved:

I am in my final weeks of classes for the semester, and I find myself studying (and eating, and sleeping) in the Hirsh Health Sciences Library. I am the first person in the building in the morning and the last person out. I haven’t seen my cat, Hortense, in days, possibly weeks. My friends think I moved away. I saw my own picture on a milk carton the other day.

But today I discovered that the caretakers of my cozy den, my warm second home, my snug grotto of learning have cast me out! I approached the Library Service Desk to check out a phone charger, and was told that I had overdue items and I could not check anything out for a FULL WEEK. Ms. Shelved, I am bewildered, bamboozled, and BLOCKED.

Whatever shall I do?


Stunned in Sackler

Dear Stunned,

Well, it seems you’ve been visited by THE BLOCK. He’s like a lot of other holiday specters…like the Uncouth Uncle at Thanksgiving dinner, he’s never a welcome visitor. Like the Schmaltz Stain left on your sweater after frying latkes, he’s persistent. And like the Tantrumy Toddler at Christmas, he follows you around, fraying your nerves and trying your patience.

Since you are blocked for a week, it appears you’ve invoked this unwelcome guest once already since July, and now you’re on your second strike. But don’t despair! Here are some helpful tips to Banish the Block:

  • Electronics, accessories, reserve materials, skulls, models, etc. circulate for 4 hours. Set a timer on your phone when you check out.
  • If there’s a chance you’ll get stuck in a meeting or appointment, TELL the person who checks out the item, and ASK if you can have a (reasonable) extension.
  • If a genuine crisis arises (like a building evacuation or a trip to the Emergency Department), CALL the desk at 617-636-6705 and let us know, we will try to work something out.
  • Remember that you can renew some items (like laptops) as long as no one is waiting to use it, but you have to bring it back to the desk first.
  • Many of the books on reserve are also available online! You probably don’t need to smuggle that textbook out overnight.

I suggest paying closer attention to your loans, because if you are blocked again before June 30, you will lose your borrowing privileges for 30 days!

Stunned, if you have any questions about the Blocking Policy, please see it in full here:

Remember, try to get some sleep, take a shower, drink some water, and bring your stuff back on time!

Ever yours,

Ms. Shelved



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