Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tame The Web: "Libraries Aren't Free"

A post by Carrie Straka, quoted in its entirety from Michael Stephen's excellent blog, Tame the Web: Libraries,Technology and People:

Recently,ALA retweeted a tweet that originally came from @FSG_Books. It was a library haiku that read: A library card / is a 100% off / coupon for great books. This is a misconception throughout libraries everywhere.

A library card isn’t a 100% off coupon. A library card is a tool that allows users to take advantage of the services and materials that have already been purchased for them. People who use the library and borrow those books have already paid for them. They’re not free books when the people borrowing them have already paid for them.

Many users believe that the services and materials we provide are free. As all library staff knows,this is a misconception. The services and materials we provide are not free. In fact,they are far from it. Librarians work within a budget and use all money provided to us through taxes, tuition, or other means.

Librarians should be challenging our users’ beliefs about the library every day. Let’s start by challenging the belief that library materials and services are free. When users ask,“Is it free?” or “Is there a charge?”, try responding by saying, “No, your (tax dollars/tuition/company’s expenditures) have already paid for it.”

The Library is America's last truly socialized institution and you're about to lose it, Daily Kos, Feb 28, 2011, illustration by Jason JonesI bet you’ll be greeted by confused looks. I think users forget that they’ve already contributed to the library with their taxes or tuition. We can encourage library usage by showing people that they can take advantage of something they’ve already paid for. [Emphasis added.]

Note: Click on the image to see another powerful post from Daily Kos.


Karen Packard Rhodes said...

And some of us pay in other ways for the service -- like my $40-a-year out-of-county library card for Jax Public Libraries. Worth every penny, too!

Y'all do an awesome job.

Mike Shell said...

Thanks so much, Karen.

I'm glad to know that we earn the extra fee you pay. Despite the fiscal challenges, we feel very positive about what we do.


Joe said...

Of course then you encourage their already inflated sense of entitlement. I have more customers attacking me based on the fact that they have already paid for the dvd/book/whatever and should not be expected to pay an overdue fine.

My personal favorite so far was the one that told me he wouldn't have the pay fines if the city didn't waste money paying library workers so GD much. He went on to explain that he saw it as materials that belonged to him being placed in the trust of overpaid and incompetent people.

Kiki said...

Very true!! Thank you for all you do!!