Library board prefers library card for computer use

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Boards want ID to allow patrons to check out items

Barry-Lawrence Regional Library board members would like to see patrons present a library card when they ask to use a public computer.

The question about requesting presentation of a library card was raised at at staff meeting. Several employees wanted to see the rule relaxed for customers that forget their card, or for those the staff knows personally due to frequent contact.

Not having a card becomes problematic when substitute staff have to face the same patrons, who may become upset when they have not had to present a card.

Gina Milburn, director, said the library requires people who check out materials or to use the public computers to be in good standing, owing no fines or fees and having returned checked out items.

Following discussion, library board members said they prefer customers to show a library card every time. If customers fail to bring a card with them, the board preferred staff to ask for a driver’s license or state-issued identification, then give a reminder to bring a card on the next trip.

“People forget a library card is like a credit card,” Milburn said. “You are responsible for its use. First, you should always carry the library card. If you don’t have it, a driver’s license should be next, and then the current address and phone number. We cross-reference that with the card information. That way we know where our stuff is going.”

Patrons who lack a library card need to present identification, preferably with an address and current phone number that matches an account in the library’s system, and a birth date. Board members also expressed a preference for a photo ID and have the patron give the last four digits of a Social Security number.

The library keeps such information for identification reference. Milburn said that data is not released and remains confidential.

Problems have arisen for patrons due to overdue material and owed fines when an adult has checked out items on a child’s card, or even an adult child checking out material on a parent’s card. One party may not know the other has used the card.

People who live outside of the service area or do not have a library card can use a public computer if they pay $1 for the day, Milburn said. Records of who uses the computers are not retained at the end of the day, but a count is. The tally is reported back to state and federal funding sources to support grant money. Milburn said at some point when the district can afford it, the library will have a program that counts users without staff having to track the numbers.

“Looking up their card with this information should be the exception, not the rule,” board members said. “If patrons are unable to provide at least one of these four pieces of information, then they cannot check out material from the library without having a card.”

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