Librarians know better than most that sometimes it’s the storm that comes before the quiet. While chaos is not a word many would use to describe the library, occasionally, discord can be difficult to avoid. Enacting a few, well-enforced library policies is the best way to make sure the storm will pass over your library and keep it as a happy and healthy space for your patrons. Here are three common library headaches and how your library can avoid them.
Repeated Overdue Library Materials
There’s nothing more frustrating than a library patron asking the circulation desk about the availability of library materials, only to find out that another patron has failed to return them on time. While it’s your library’s MO to provide patrons with books galore free of charge, rogue patrons who fail to return them can make your job a lot more frustrating. The goods news is that most overdue library materials don’t come from a place of malice. Oftentimes, forgetful patrons simply fear the punishment more than the crime. Our friends over at the Chicago Public Library System have come up a creative solution to this problem. Enter: library amnesty program. Invite your local community to return their books free of charge. If you want to sweeten the deal, throw week-long events with food and prizes to draw those forgetful patrons in and that coveted collection of Taibo videos back where they belong: your library.
Violation of Quiet Spaces
Your library caters to the excitable and scholarly alike. That’s why it completely baffles you when a loud patron continues to violate quiet spaces and disrupt the boundaries of your carefully crafted sanctuary. Identify the cause of this disruption. Is it that patrons aren’t aware of the lay-of-the-land or that they do not quite know how loud their exclamations of joy over their first reading of Theodore Roosevelt's “Duties of American Citizenship” speech really are? Talk calmly with your patrons who are disrupting your laws of peace and find out where the disconnect is. It might be a simple case of hanging a few signs to mark off the space or letting them know a table in the “loud” section just opened up.
Library computers are there for your patrons to take advantage of. While it may give you comfort to think they’re being used to write a senior thesis based on the philosophies of René Descartes or to study for those pesky SATs, this is often a pipe dream. More often than not, these computers will be used to surf social media or *shudder* watch music videos without headphones. While your headphones problem can be solved by offering disposable ones or giving patrons an assertive tap on the shoulder, preventing computers from being used for entertainment purposes is something you can’t (and shouldn’t) prevent. Instead, enforce a new library policy and set aside some computers for those who need them for more pressing matters. This will help your patrons on pressing deadlines breathe a sigh of relief to know that they can always rely on the library for their last minute projects.
Enacting a few library policies can be a lifesaver to your patrons’ productivity (and your own sanity). For more information on new measures your library can take, check out our whitepaper: Branding Your Library: Insights from Today’s Top Librarians.