11 March 2010
no more paper, no more books, no more librarian dirty looks?
even in noble institutions, at some point, there comes a sticky wicket . . . profit. profitability. profit center. revenue generation. yes, even libraries.
over on the tele-read blog, 'joanna' writes about 'another e-advantage,' no more lost library books.
she tells of her encounter with her previous local library over a 'lost' book. she claims (is sure of it) that it was returned. the library says otherwise (isn't that always the way). and now she has been billed $18. whereas, when she 'borrows' e-books, they are downloaded to her computer, read (or not) and then, 'poof, be gone,' they are gone. nothing to track, nothing to search for, nothing to return to the library (late or otherwise).
this tale of woe led me to think of other things as well, namely overdue fines. if there is no physical book to check out and/or to lose, how will that affect the income of libraries? do fines/replacement fees make up a significant amount of revenue for libraries? at the usual rate of $0.10/day, it doesn't seem like it would, but multiplied by thousands of pages and multiple branches . . .? and wouldn't it also depend on the number of scofflaws out there? are there more late book turner-inners in des moines than dubuque?
and why won't patrons renew??? it's so easy and you can usually do it online. at the most it would take a phone call to the branch. then that gives you time to find that book that you absolutely, positively know you turned back in (wink wink).