Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Library Innovation

I had my name on the list to borrow a recent book from the Ottawa Public Library for a couple of months. Singled Out is by Virginia Nicholson. Amazon has some short reviews here.

Today the Ottawa Public Library has 20 people on the waiting list for two copies. I eventually gave up waiting and ordered a copy online from Amazon. It seems to me there's an opportunity for the Library to be entrepreneurial, and do everyone a service. Here's how.

Why couldn't the library partner with an online bookstore? Library patrons reserving a book online, who might have to wait months to come to the top of the list to borrow the hot new book, might opt to buy it via the library website -- and the library could collect a commission on the sale. That would also take one person off the waiting list.

But it gets better. If, like me, you have far too many books in the house maybe you'd welcome the opportunity to put it to good use after you'd finished with it. Maybe a tax receipt could be given for donation back to the library if that book still has a waiting list. That way others could read it sooner. That would also be another book the library could sell when the time came to review holdings.

What am I missing here? If one of my librarian readers knows of a snag in this proposal please post a comment.

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