We've been receiving a lot of phone calls and emails from patrons (mostly faculty) who have received overdue notices for items that were already returned or renewed. First, we apologize for the confusion and inconvenience; the problem was on our end, not yours! Of course, it's still always a good idea to check with us in a case like this just to make sure that nothing was missed.
For the curious, here's a little background info:
Our circulation (check in/check out) system, Voyager, has many virtues, but it also has a few flaws. One of these flaws is that it automatically generates an overdue notice the second an item goes to "overdue." These notices sit there in the system, waiting to be released when we run a report (which usually happens daily). Many times, a patron will return or renew a book or video after the notice has been created but before it has been sent out. We don't have a way to recall or prevent the notices from going once they have been generated. When we run the report the next morning, the patron gets the overdue notice, even though the item has been checked back in and everything is actually fine.
Another quirk of Voyager's is that it can only operate one semester at a time. This is especially annoying for faculty who are trying to renew a book for an additional term. If Voyager knows that the semester ends on May 8th, and you try to log in to your account on May 7th to renew the book for the summer, Voyager will only be able to "renew" it for the rest of the current term (May 8th). It can't begin a new semester until the existing one ends. The library staff can manually override this for you (it is easier for us to do it right after the new semester has begun, though-- in this case, that would be May 9th).
So, what happened this time? Well, we ended one semester (spring) and began a new one (summer). Many faculty tried to renew their materials but were blocked because we weren't into a new term yet, so they renewed their books right after the summer semester began-- technically overdue, but not a problem. Other folks returned their materials a day or two late, within the grace period, but technically after the due date. All of those overdue notices were generated and accumulated there in lala land, waiting to be unleashed.
The staff member who usually runs the reports every morning was out of the library for a couple of weeks, so none of the notices were actually sent out (the report can only be run using her login credentials).
When she returned to the library on Tuesday, the report was run, and all of those old overdue notices went out.
Obviously, this is not a situation we want to happen again, so we are working on a way to prevent this from happening in the future. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience, apologize for any anxiety it may have caused, and will be happy to confirm that your account is A-OK if you want to call us and make sure.