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Ain't no cure for the summertime blues.

My library is in a community where the population triples in the summer. Our policy for issuing cards is based on the system standards - photo ID such as a driver's license, and if that is not available two pieces of currently dated mail such as a rental receipt or phone bill. This becomes a sticking point in the summer when people who are only here for a week want to get a card. Now, I have no problem saying no and explaining why. What I'm wondering from you, oh beloved community, is do any of you work in a system that does issue short term cards for non-residents? If so, what are the parameters? Do you charge for the card in case materials go home with the tourist?

I've come across a few websites that will issue "guest" library cards that only allow the guest patron to sign out one item at a time.

A few libraries in our system issue new users cards that have restrictions on them for the first several months, but those patrons still need to meet the residency requirements.

(I would also like to add that I don't understand why our rudest patrons always seem to be summer visitors!)


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 8th, 2014 09:26 pm (UTC)
Would it be feasible to partner with the local campsites, hotels and B&B's? With a valid receipt from one of your partners, you can obtain a guest card that limits the guest to 1-3 items. Also have a dropoff location at the front desk of each establishment, with a pickup once a week to obtain returned material.

I worry that the next big issue will be that the summer tourists expect the latest, greatest book to be available for checkout.
Jul. 8th, 2014 09:45 pm (UTC)
We offer an Out of County card, with fees - $5 for 3 months, $15 for a year. We also offer an Internet Use Only card, which allows frequent visitors to use the internet, but they can't check out any items. That card is free.
We require proof of address, and if they don't have it, they are limited to checking out three items on the day they get their card, and that's it until they bring in their proof.
Jul. 8th, 2014 10:23 pm (UTC)
The library system in the town next to mine has something similar with internet only cards and out of district cards. I got an internet use card once, but I can't recall what the requirements were for that.
Jul. 8th, 2014 10:33 pm (UTC)
We don't have too many requirements. We ask for ID, to prevent people with blocked cards from getting another one with a fake name (we block internet access if fines get too high - ask me how well that works), but we don't verify addresses. The card does expire after 3 months, but it can be renewed very easily, so if someone only visits in the summer, they can reactivate it with a quick visit to the desk.
Jul. 9th, 2014 06:14 am (UTC)
We do the internet cutoff for the high fines too. If they're depending on us for the computer, it works. If they're on wifi, not so much. They're going to get a nasty surprise when I have time to change the password and suddenly they're cut off. (At least until they get one of their friends/relatives with a not-blocked card to check the password out and give it to them... *sigh*)

That said, we've found that most of our computer users do cough up enough money to get themselves under the minimum. They'll try to keep that going for years at one penny under the max fines.

They get a nasty surprise when they realize that their cards expire every two years, and they can't renew it or get a new card without paying it all off or traveling for over 20 miles to the next closest library.
Jul. 9th, 2014 06:13 pm (UTC)
Our director is much more permissive. There's no password for our public wifi, and basically, anyone who walks in and asks for a guest pass (even people we know have cards with fines) gets one, no questions.
I hate having policies that we can't enforce. Just get rid of them!
Jul. 10th, 2014 05:45 am (UTC)
We originally had no public wifi password... we had so many people using it to stream videos they crashed our server. And when I say "crashed the server" I don't just mean that they slowed down wifi to a crawl, I mean THE WHOLE BUILDING'S internet went down!

Former Boss had her flaws, but as far as she was concerned, anybody who had fines deserved them, and needed to pay them off to use our services. About the only thing someone who owes us money can do is read books/magazines in the library. We don't check anything out to anyone who exceeds our max fines. There was some debate over blocking people from internet access, but given that we have a fine payment plan, that debate didn't last too long.
Jul. 8th, 2014 10:45 pm (UTC)
Our system offers "visitor" cards that are good for up to a tear, and we grab both a local address and an actual address so we know who to hound if things go away on the visitor card. They're free for the issuing, but my system doesn't hesitate on sending collections after people, so...
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 8th, 2014 11:29 pm (UTC)
We have a short-term resident card for $10 (which is for 1-3 month residents), but nothing for tourists. Our director is pondering temp cards for tourists that allow one or two books at a time.
Jul. 9th, 2014 01:31 am (UTC)
If the summer residents own property and come back every summer, we get them to show us a copy of their property taxes and we will issue them a card. We have guest accounts that we issue for computer usage on a daily basis. It would be nice, though, to offer Internet Only cards. We also have our honor system lending library where the books are stamped with our address but not barcoded. I always steer the tourists to these if they don't qualify for a card. At least they can still have something to read!

I also like the idea of partnering with local campsites and hotels - even the marina.

We have patrons who will sign out audio books and then mail them back to us when they've driven back to Michigan, Florida, Connecticut - once even Alaska - and they often mail a $10 or $20 donation and a thank you note. So there ARE responsible summer people out there......maybe only because they know they are going to be seeing me again next summer. Heh.
Jul. 9th, 2014 02:50 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's pretty awesome of those tourists! We had someone mail an audio book back to us once, but then they tried to get us to reimburse their postage =/

Where I was growing up, we had a very specific group of "city folk" from NYC come up for the summer, which ended up tripling our population. Speaking later with one of the librarians from the area, she said that a few people from their bungalows (with accounts) would come to the library with lists to borrow for their non-carrying neighbors. The librarians knew what they were doing, but they never rarely had issues, I suspect because the borrowers knew that they were going against library policy.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 9th, 2014 05:17 am (UTC)
We are a 27 library branch. If you do not live in the tax areas for any of those libraries, you have to pay to get a card. But you have to have a permanent address. Address on License or License plus mail with current address to verify. If they live in a shelter, we have to verify them with the shelter every...3 months I think. It doesn't come up very often.

You can get a temporary pass for the internet.

and we have a spinner/courtesy collection filled with donated books that can be borrowed on the 'honor system'. I always tell people to just bring them back when they finish, but if you drop it in the bathtub, we won't care.
Jul. 10th, 2014 06:05 pm (UTC)
My city's library has cheap .10-$1.00 offerings from donations from patrons. If they're just looking for something to read, there's no reason they can't find anything there.
Jul. 9th, 2014 06:24 am (UTC)
We've got an (almost) statewide consortium, and if you live, work or own property anywhere in the state, you get a free card, even if you don't live in one of the areas that has one of our consortium libraries in it. Don't live in the state, you're out of luck - you have to pay a fee for a card, and it only lasts 6 months or a year or you don't walk out of the building with anything. (We do offer internet access free on a guest pass.)

As for why the rudest patrons are summer visitors, that's easy - some people are only polite because they know there will be social consequences if they aren't. No consequences, because nobody you know lives in that town? They're free to be mofos.
Jul. 9th, 2014 04:42 pm (UTC)
My library issues temporary cards, and we get a lot of people who spend the entire summer at the campground near us.
There's a $25 fee, and a $50 deposit that is returned when the patron is leaving and has returned all items. We allow them 10 items out, no access to eResources. Must have valid ID showing their address and provide an address for where they are staying.
If someone just wants internet access, that's free to the public.
Jul. 9th, 2014 06:46 pm (UTC)
On-Topic Webinar
The Colorado State Library is offering a webinar on the 16th titled 'We’re All Tourists Sometime: Learning from libraries who serve both tourists and residents' The summary looks like they are going to address serving tourists/part-time residents.

Here's a link: http://cslinsession.cvlsites.org/
Jul. 18th, 2014 07:16 pm (UTC)
I used to work for a library whose main branch was located half a mile away from the local homeless shelter. We offered "temporary cards" for these individuals, since they could not provide a permanent address. The card would expire after one month, and they'd have to either show us their updated address proof (in which case we could bump them up to a regular card) or show us their orange slip from the homeless shelter which they'd give our to verify they were really living there. They could check out two items at a time on the card, but their internet access was no different from a regular card. It worked pretty well.

Summertime tourists aren't invested in the community -- they are there to be entertained, and entertained only, so anything that doesn't fit into that makes them grumps. (Used to live on a touristy island.)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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