This was a Discussion on a lot of topics. The following sheet was handed out, and each person had 2 minutes to give their argument. Then, at the end we voted on our favorite. It was a funny, informative session.
Paper Library Card Registration:
Pro: He works at two libraries. He talked about patrons who come in and deny things, and it's easy to pull out paper statements and agreements. Many IMLS systems will not allow signatures. Also, it keeps your clerical staff busy. Patrons like to have something to fill out and sign, and it's the initial step. They know they are a member.
Con: She has 31 libraries, and they have the capability to do signatures. If other companies aren't using paper, why are libraries doing it? Is it secure to have a whole drawer of patron record information?
The "con" won.
Food and Drink in the Library:
Do we allow it?
Pro: People are using our books and things at home and taking them on the beach, but we are keeping the library neat and clean. This is a privilege, but people need to clean up after themselves. We can't stop people from doing things at home or getting tomato sauce on their books. We want people to feel comfortable, so let them have a snack with a book.
Con: She said without full-time custodial, this does not apply (laughter). In a perfect world, people would be neat and considerate, but most are inconsiderate slobs. It is not part of our jobs to be cleaning up after people who are slobs. Rodents and things will be attracted to messy food. But, we will lose more people when they find out that our library is infested with cockroaches. (more laughter)
What about designated snack areas?
Pro: Volunteers diversify our options, especially with our budgets. It benefits the community and the individuals. It increases community engagement. We should screen them, use applications and have them be trained. We can also "fire" them if they are bad volunteers. Having them allows us to do more with less.
Con: She said, it depends. If you are very small and able to do more with volunteers with dedication, it's a good fit. The work is important to both parties. They disbanded their program because it's convoluted. Most volunteers at organizations are vetted, and this takes time. Oversight, scheduling, follow up, etc. takes time.
Pro volunteer won.
Family Library Cards:
Pro: He talked about "Your Right to No." The mission of the public library is to content people with content. Formats have changed, but our role has not. It's not our role to figure out how households exchange information. We should offer options and choices. It's useful as a choice.
Con: What about the right of privacy? A library card has an emotional attachment. It's so exciting when a child at age 4 or 5 gets their own card. They get that attachment.
The con won.
Charging for DVD Borrowing:
Pro: DVDs are declining and some are unique. If we are charging extra fines, maybe it's more upfront to ask people to borrow it.
Con: Her library chose not to charge. How did this evolve? We are trying to lend out content and eliminate the barrier. They have 3 at no charge, then they charge.
Meeting Room Use by Outside Groups:
Pro: The community wanted space, so they changed some of their space. It's a good way to get people in who haven't used the library in awhile and see what else is happening.
Con: Outside groups leave a mess. Why are they coming to the library? They also wanted them to help with the programs. What if you don't have custodians for the evening? They also compete for time. Meeting rooms are for the library and its programming. How do we manage an open public forum?