Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blog June Post 28 - One card, one library

I'm sure I'm not the first to think about this.  But wouldn't it be really cool if you just need one generic library card and you could access the collection of any library in Australia?

South Australia has a system where if you have a library card at your local library, then you can use your card at any library within that state.

  • South Australian Public Library Network - The SA public library 'one card' network is connecting the systems of more than 130 public libraries across South Australia to let you borrow and return items wherever you go, using your current library card.

    It's perfect for when you're out and about or travelling - carrying multiple library cards will become a thing of the past!

While it is only for one state, it is a start.  Libraries are trying to meet the information needs of their communities and trying to do it for as little cost as possible, yet the biggest hurdle I find is that if you don't have the particular item in your collection and you have to get it from another library collection - then you have to charge your user an interlibrary loan fee.  In my library, I find that if you get to that point with one of your users, as soon as you mention a cost they don't want you to get it for them.  They are usually very disappointed and don't understand why it costs them.  Even though you explain that it is to cover the postage of the item between the libraries.  They are not interested and therefore you have been unable to satisfy their information need.

Wouldn't it be great if libraries found some way of absorbing the full cost of interlibrary loans.  I understand that in our library service, the cost of interlibrary loans is being absorbed to an extent, as $5.50 is not covering the whole cost of the service.  While interlibrary loans between public libraries are, the majority of the time, free.  If the item your user needs is in a library outside of this network then prices can be as high as $20 or more.  How can we help our users meet their information needs when we have this cost in the way?

Wouldn't it be great if libraries just willingly shared their resources between other libraries without the costs involved?  But who would pay for the postage, processing etc?

Now I'll step it up a bit.  Wouldn't it be great if all the libraries pooled their money together to create one library, one collection that is shared nation wide.  There is no cost to move items between "library stations."  That if I needed a book that was in WA, that I could get access to that book at no cost.  Imagine the information needs you'd be able to meet!!

Wouldn't it be great if our users only had to search one catalogue and they would access all the "library station" collections in one place?

I say "library station" because we would be all the LIBRARY but you would have access stations in the towns and cities where you could still provide the community hub and have locally housed collections but these collections are accessible to everyone.

Well, I'll stop with my dreaming now.  It's still raining and it poured so hard last night that I dreamed the house was leaking.  Two more days till school holidays.  Two more days till sleep over for small one and lack of sleep for me.  Two more days of #blogjune left.

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