Saying Yes to Customers at Auckland Libraries










By Fiona @ Balwyn

In October I found myself holidaying in Auckland for ten days. While I was there the 2014 LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand) conference was and being the library nerd I am I took myself along to the conference.

One of the sessions I attended was presented by staff from Auckland Libraries on ‘starter memberships’.

Auckland Libraries has implemented innovations, especially around registrations, that have improved the ability of staff to say Yes more often to customers. A Starter Card patron type was introduced in 2012. Developed using customer-centric design principles, the Starter Card enables library staff to register customers who don’t possess all the required identification, or have a guardian present if they are under 18, with a limited membership. To date, over 9000 customers have registered as Auckland Library members in this way…

Key Audience: Service delivery staff interested in developing alternatives for enabling membership.
Source: LIANZA 2014 conference program.

The idea is that people who are unable to provide sufficient identification for a library card (no fixed, address, backpackers etc.) can still get a library card and use the library.

The card for adults (over 18) looks the same as everyone else’s library card but it is valid for three months and allows the card holder to have two items on loan at any one time.

The card for juniors (under 18) is valid until they turn 18. It also allows the card holder to have two items on loan at any one time.

A question from the audience asked about the loss rate (non-return) of items borrowed on starter cards.

For adults the loss rate is about the same as for full members.

For juniors the loss rate is higher but I guess the trade-off is more young people being able to use the library.

This session really captured my imagination – is this something we could trial here at Boroondara?

Could it be an extension of the ‘pink slips’ (temporary printing cards)?

What do others think?


One thought on “Saying Yes to Customers at Auckland Libraries

  1. Oops! Do we not have it already? I have joined people on a temporary membership, with a limited time period and restricted loans. I agree it is essential. I have used the same facility in libraries overseas. It’s not as if our system of mailing out cards to prove the address is watertight. All the person has to do is give their friend’s address.

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