Processing ReCAP Returns

These guidelines will help staff correctly process outgoing ReCAP returns.

Returns are picked up daily from Circulation by CUL's Shipping & Receiving Department. Bohren's Moving and Storage transfers items from Shipping & Receiving to ReCAP every business day except for University Holidays and during weather emergencies. Please consult the official list of non-delivery days and monitor CUL Notes for updates.

Some returns are made directly from deparment libraries for security purposes (RBML, Law, HSL and Avery D&A).

Instructions for Processing ReCAP Returns

1. Check all items in envelopes or other housing.

  • Verify that barcodes on item and envelope match.
  • Verify piece count. Items with piece count will have single off-site barcode on envelope/housing, not contents.
  • If the barcodes or piece count do not match, contact the ReCAP Coordinator; include the barcode number(s).
  • Verify that there is a pink RECAP sticker on every return.
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2. Use Butler Circulation Desk to discharge all ReCAP items

  • Use only Butler Circulation Desk to discharge ReCAP items.
  • Holds/Recalls must be immediately routed to destination circ desk. Notification will be sent to patron the day following discharge. To avoid preemptive notification, choose "Cancel" from the pop-up dialog alert and route item via Return Direct. If staff choose "OK", have item immediately delivered to destination.
  • Disregard routing slips.
  • All returns should be staged in gray ReCAP totes for pick up by Shipping & Receiving. (Contact Zack Lane, zl2114@columbia.edu or (212) 851-5621, if your department prefers to send low-volume returns to Butler Circulation via Return Direct). 
  • LITO staff run a weekly reconciliation to clear Item Status of ReCAP items. All "Charged" and "In Transit" status are corrected in CLIO once ReCAP confirms refile.

3. Process previously identified damaged materials (check department policy)

  • When an item (monograph or serial) circulates from Offsite it should be examined to see if it needs first-time binding, repair, rebinding, reformatting, or replacement according to the same criteria used for materials shelved on campus. This includes items housed in Tyvek envelopes.
  • If the item is in extremely poor condition, it should be routed for preservation immediately, and the patron should be encouraged to use Borrow Direct or ILL to locate a different copy. Otherwise, the item should be routed to Preservation after return.
  • Follow guidelines in DCMM-904: Routing Offsite Volumes for Binding, Repair, Rebinding, Replacement, Microfilming, or Photocopy
  • As of January 1, 2004, all paperback monographs (except Milstein items and U.S. Government documents with location off,docs) are sent for binding after patron return. If a U.S. Government document is damaged and needs to be bound, send to MPS with a note.
  • Follow guidelines in DCMM-1104: Routing Circulated Paperback Monographs For Binding

4. Use gray ReCAP tote for returning items

  • Flip blue destination card to display "RECAP."
  • Pack books spine down in single layer across bottom of tote.
  • If they are in envelopes, feel for the spine to determine orientation.
  • Pack with green foam to prevent shifting during transit.
  • Secure tote lid with a cable tie.
  • Tote should be sealed and staged by 9:15am to be ready for pickup by Shipping & Receiving.

5. Returning oversize volumes

  • If a volume is too large to fit in the tote spine down, place it flat in the tote.
  • Oversize volumes can be stacked.
  • Make sure that heavier volumes are on the bottom, lighter ones on the top.
  • Use foam pieces on bottom and sides to prevent shifting during transit.

6. Returning boxes

  • Keep all boxes right side up inside the tote.
  • Flat boxes can be stacked 2-3 high.
  • Make sure that heavier or larger boxes are on the bottom, lighter or smaller ones on the top.
  • Use foam pieces on bottom and sides to prevent shifting during transit.

7. Shipping & Receiving staff transfer totes to Butler Mailroom

  • ReCAP Courier picks up returns every business day excluding University Holidays.
  • See official list of non-delivery days and monitor CUL Notes for updates.
  • Returns will be available for patron request within four (4) days.

Note: When Handling Totes

  • Keep totes flat and right side up at all times.
  • Avoid dropping or tossing totes, even for short distances. The contents are frequently fragile and likely to be damaged easily.
  • Totes may be stacked up to 3 high.
  • When transporting oversize boxes or items that do not fit inside totes, never stack totes on top of the oversize boxes or items.