or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Secret Social Networking

   May 4th, 2010

Seen in this week's Post Secrets:

Post Secret - Library Receipts

I've thought there was an unusually large number of checkout receipts left in books, and maybe this is why. Although I usually keep the things I find around the library, checkout receipts are one thing I always throw away.

But what if we did offer some sort of in-book messaging? Maybe a sticker with a link to the library's record of the book on LibraryThing or Goodreads, telling people they could discuss it there and meet other people who liked it. Or better yet, remind them to write a review in the library's catalog, along with an opt-in social feature (I wish we had that functionality, but maybe soon).

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6 Responses to “Secret Social Networking”

  1. Heather Says:

    Is it a wise idea to leave patron’s names on receipts linking them to the items they checked out? This would seem like a violation of privacy if their name is attached to a receipt showing they checked out specific titles. Perhaps the titles were not listed on the receipt but then that would lead to even more difficulty.

  2. Pat Says:

    This is a great idea assuming everything would be anonymous. Having another reader recommend a title and then being able to follow this up with a discussion would be a “novel” concept.

  3. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Heather: I was surprised to see that, too – we only print the patron’s barcode, which is a little more secure.

    @Pat: That’s why I kind of like referring patrons to an online tool – they can opt-in if they want to, and only share as much information as they’re comfortable with. None at all and just look at other peoples’ suggestions, or share what they like.

  4. Anne Says:

    I was shocked to see that the patron’s name was printed on the receipt (and interested to see that it was King County Library System, our neighbor to the south). We only print the patron’s barcode, with the last four digits shown as “X”

    I always toss out the receipts I find in books – I chalk it up to stuffing the receipt into the book at checkout, and forgetting about it when the book gets turned in. I suppose it could be interesting to do a survey of sorts to look at what books are checked out together…

  5. alison Says:

    I agree Brian,
    I’m promoting a library staff LibraryThing so customers can see what it’s all about – and use it.
    Our Spydus catalogue has a review (more a comment) function, but I’d like to get the upgrade and add LibraryThing for Libraries to give that rich added dimension to each entry.

    re opting in if they want to – surely they’ve chosen to leave their slip in the book? who knows?


  6. Denise Says:

    We did put date due stickers with room for patrons to write in reviews but sadly hardly anyone did. Maybe because there was only room for a sentence. I usually encourage patrons to try Goodreads, if for nothing other than to keep track of what they have already read. From there they can discover the reviews and the give-aways (my favorite part.)