I was scanning through my bookshelf recently and noticed something was amiss. One of my books was absent and I couldn’t think why. After some strenuous thinking back I realised that I had loaned the book out to a friend, some two years’ previous, and never received it back. I’m sure it’s something we all do and have all been stung by. After all if somebody asks to borrow an item it is difficult to say know as we are worried about causing offence, even though we are probably perfectly entitled to say, “No go and buy it yourself!”

On my first ever Open University course (AA100 as I remember) I made a new acquaintance at the first tutorial which helped break the ice. Someone to cling on to (not literally of course) who is also experiencing first-course nerves and trepidation.

I was young and naive and thought that I could always track the other person down. They had promised to meet me at the next tutorial and would have the book in hand ready to give back to me but unfortunately as the tutorial came and went I realised that the chances of getting my expensive textbook back were slim. Is it really a major problem?! Well, the truth is yes it can be. Lending and losing another person’s text book is a sign of disrespect, even though some people don’t see it that way. A library would charge you the price of the book if you did not return it on time.

Whenever I was telling a fellow student about my lending woes they told me that they had also suffered the same problem when lending an Arts and Humanities course book to someone who was behind on receiving their package in the post. The lender on this occasion scribbled notes all over the page margins. Then they asked me to bring the book to them at a pre-arranged location. This might have suited but what if the meet-up location or university distance was too great or unsuitable? You may expect these problems when at school at college but in adult education is it too much to ask that people act maturely and return your goods when they’ve finished?!

So, what could I do to make sure this never happened again? Well there were different approaches that I could take.

1) Never lend anything out again. Maybe a bit extreme but politely declining and explaining my reasons (that I’d been stung before) would be a perfectly acceptable excuse.

2) Lend your materials out but lay out the ground rules from the start. Remind the borrower that you also need to use the book and will be needing back at a particular point in time (specify the time and date).

3) Lend the book and if you are the type of person that just can’t say no invest in something like the phone app available over at lendthing.com. Lend Thing run with the tagline, “Keep track of who has your stuff” before asking the question, “Have you ever been unable to find something, then realise you’ve loaned it out and have no idea who has it? Lendthing is an iPhone app that keeps track, quickly and simply. Add items lightning-fast, using the people already in your address book. Get your stuff back with pre-written reminders you can send via text message or email.”

Sounds perfect for what we need then.

If you’ve paid all that money on an expensive textbook then you are quite within your rights to not to lend it out at all!

P.S. The title of this post comes from William Shakespeare in case you were wondering.

Did you enjoy this article or find it useful? Please LIKE/TWEET/SHARE and drop a comment below with your thoughts. Perhaps you’ve been the lender or even the borrower yourself? Either way let’s get the conversation going and help each other move forward.