Thursday, January 5, 2017

fake library users


In  an unidentified Florida public library, the library staff  created fictitious people who checked books out. They were caught. They said they did this because the library system, which records the statistics of which materials are checked out, would push them to pitch books that are not checked out but are still used in the library. The staff would be throw out the books and then have to purchase or arrange for a loan of a new copy of the same book each time patrons requested it, which in the long run would be more expensive and waste more time and money than retaining the book. Higher user rates also means the library qualifies for more state funding. Other libraries are probably doing the same thing.

Many large circulating libraries now want to withdraw and get rid of their hardcopy books that have low circulating statistics. Software in library management systems (LMS) keeps track of which materials do and do not circulate, when, how often, and which patrons check which materials out. It does not document if you use materials in house that are not checked out. This is a negative to software, as it interprets some but not all of the facts. The librarians are more aware of the entire set of facts and needs of patrons and use of the collections. Minimally the list of books destined for removal should have been reviewed with the staff. This is going to generate some interesting conversations and hopefully more inclusive use of reality. Read more about it here http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38496481

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