I have worked in three different libraries in the last eight years, including the Clovis-Carver Public Library, and I’d like to respond to John Ippoliti’s letter in last Sunday’s paper (“Library policies difficult for patron”).
One of Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science is “Save the time of the reader.”
I believe this principle applies to both finding material and checking it out. Most patrons take their time finding books, but want to check out as quickly as possible.
Scanning library cards is the fastest way.
Library cards are no more unwieldy than any other identification card. They are the same size and weight.
As for being extraneous, a card-less system sounds nice and convenient, but it is far from being practical. Using a form of government ID might seem like the best answer, but not everybody has one, such as most children and young teenagers.
Since we do not wish to exclude anyone from obtaining a library account, library cards are indeed necessary.
Ippoliti states that library cards are expensive to the library and its patrons. First off, the Clovis-Carver library’s cards come pre-made, so there is no expense for a card-maker. Secondly, our library does not charge anyone for the first card. So, as long as you do not lose it and return items on time your library experience will be absolutely free.
Ippoliti says library cards are completely unsecure. How are they any less secure than using a credit or debit card at any establishment that does not require any additional form of identification at the time of purchase?
I hope Ippoliti and his family continue to use our facility and enjoy all that we have to offer. If this is the only fault he finds, I think we’re doing pretty good.