Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Library Card as Token of Contract

In a good "feedback" letter in the March 1 Library Journal, Heather Holly-Hall writes about why most libraries ask for an ID when you apply for a card:

A library card is . . . a physical manifestation of the contract that exists
between the public library and the cardholder. When I sign up for a library
card, I understand that I am responsible for any materials checked out on that
card. I must return those items on time and in good condition to uphold my end of
the bargain.

Unfortunately, this sometimes means that our patrons must
pay overdue fines [or replacement fees]. . . . It is because of this potential
for financial liability that I [as a library staffer] must take care to ensure
to the best of my ability [the identity of] the person standing in front of me.
. . .

Physical manifestation of the contract! I love that.

I also may love Beeline TV -- for the vintage cartoons, if nothing else. Not finding a good "about us" statement makes me nervous, and I had trouble making the Al Jazeera link work, so that's two drawbacks. Such a resource -- and there seem to be others -- makes me wonder why our library system is looking at a cheesey paid resource for digital video for our patrons.

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