Simple Ideas, Great Results, Library 1.0

I think that sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the exciting ideas of Library 2.0 and online services and forget that there are simple, good ideas out there completely unconnected to computers! Michelle McLean, an Australian librarian, has written a post about Improving User Service which is all about libraries making users happy by changing loan limits and dropping reservation fees. Probably the most radical part is their change to print loans, from a maximum of 20 items across all categories to unlimited print loans, yes that does read unlimited! They do limit AV items with a rather low limit on DVDs but their unlimited print loans do include audio books and CD Roms.

The part that interests me is the reservation fees – they dropped them from $1 to free. This is the fee for placing a hold on books at other branches or out on loan. I love this part of Michelle’s post…

“Now that’s a good thing. Although it creates more work for us, its amazing what good will it has expressed. The people who wouldn’t place holds because of the charge, love it because they don’t have to pay and the people who were used to paying love it, because they no longer have to. They would not necessarily have thought of suggesting that as a service improvement, but they love it!”

She goes on to talk about other positive results such as people coming in more often and her reassuring final statement is…
“And despite fears, we haven’t had anyone place holds on everything in sight, yet!”

It’s so good to hear someone blogging about simple, effective ideas like this that help to give users a great service. It’s always difficult to sell something to management that will cost the library service money, such as giving up a source of revenue, however small the amount. So congratulations to the staff at Michelle’s library for doing this and I will be forwarding her post to my library manager in the morning…


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