Our library service has changed some long standing policies, in order to encourage more use of our libraries. In the middle of last year, we changed our loan periods from 1 week to 2 weeks for DVDs, videos and CD’s and at the same time dropped the magazines loans period from 4 weeks to 2 weeks, to improve their turnover. The increased AV loan period has been very well accepted and generally the magazines too, as people see more issues more often.
In November last year we increased our loan limits. It used to be a maximum of 20 items, with a maximum of 2 DVDs, 4 videos and 4 CDs within those 20 items. Now we have unlimited print (books and mags), CD-Roms, Kits and audio books, 15 CDs, 15 videos and hopefully will be able to increase to 3 DVDs by mid year. Again very well accepted, although there was a concern it would impact memberships. Hasn’t happened from where I sit, the memberships are still streaming in. (the DVD limit is one reason).
Now last week, we dropped our reservation charges. We used to charge $1 to place a hold on a title which wasn’t on shelf at the requesting branch. The charge applied whether all copies were out, or if it was available on shelf at another of our libraries. In just a week, the pickup shelves have doubled in size, as people take advantage of this free service.
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!
And for the library, with more people placing holds, it means they will come in more often and borrow more, maybe beyond the items they are reserving. They will be happier in terms of service delivery and they will be more generous in their recommendations of the library service.
We still charge for lost and damaged items (of course) and for printing and overdues, but the latter is also under review. In the meantime, lots of smiles in our libraries, both on the faces of our users and our staff. And despite fears, we haven’t had anyone place holds on everything in sight, yet!