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Automatic Renewals at the Columbus Metropolitan Library

by on June 12, 2014

Libraries are constantly looking for innovative ways to better serve their patrons. From offering special programs like makerspaces and book clubs to lending tablets, libraries are always trying to come up with new and better services. With its user community in mind, the Columbus Metropolitan Library is now offering automatic renewals for non-digital items. The program, which started May 1st, 2014, will “[make] it easier for…customers to keep items they enjoy” and “minimizes the potential for overdue fines,” according to CML’s CEO Patrick Losinski.1 This is a excellent way to make renewing items more convenient for library patrons. Now patrons will not have to go all the way to the library just to renew a book.  Whether this plan will really cut down on library fines remains to be seen, but the important thing is the library is seen to be giving its users what they want.

The CML website’s FAQ page explains the program. Items will be automatically renewed at the end of the lending period. There are a few exceptions; items will not be renewed if another patron places a hold on an item, if the item has met its maximum of 10 renewals, and if a patron’s account has more than $10.01 in fines.2 Again, this new policy only applies to books, CDs, and DVDs, not e-books.3 By initiating this program, the library also proves its value to the community. The goal of this new policy was to “make it easier on…customers,” and library spokesman Ben Zenitsky says there is the potential for books to be checked out “for the better part of a year — 210 days.”4 This will indeed make it easier for the homebound, or patrons with limited access to reliable transportation, to read and use their favorite library items. It could even help the library’s teen patrons (who have not yet received driver’s licenses) keep the resources they need. The University of Minnesota Duluth also has an automatic renewal policy, and the director says “simplifying rules is one way to make library users happier.”5 It’s likely the patrons of the Columbus Metropolitan Library will greatly enjoy this new borrowing policy.

References

  1. Gary Price, “Ohio: Columbus Metropolitan Library Launches Automatic Renewals for Non-Digital Items,” May 5, 2014, Library Journal – Infodocket.
  2. Using the Library, Columbus Metropolitan Library .
  3. Ibid.
  4. Dean Narciso, “Columbus library patrons find many materials now automatically renewed,” May 7, 2014, The Columbus Dispatch.
  5. Ibid.

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