Thursday, April 14, 2011

Creating an EReader Lending Policy for your Library

Since the Southern Alberta Library Conference, a number of Chinook Arch’s member libraries have been asking about lending eReaders. I can only assume that this is linked to the presentation given by Sarah Felkar of West Vancouver Memorial Library on eReader Lending. (If you are interested, Sarah’s slides and handout are available on the SALC 2011 website.) While there are many things to consider when lending out eReaders, I would like to talk about creating a library lending policy.

If you are planning on lending out eReaders creating a well-worded, comprehensive policy is a must. From reviewing other policies, your policy should likely include what devices you are lending out, who can check them out, how long the lending period is, how many times they can be renewed, if holds can be placed on them, what the overdue charge is, whether the items contains preloaded titles (very common and highly recommended) and how the eReader should be returned. I have also run across policies that include whether or not patrons can put titles on the eReader from sources other than library’s collection (definitely something to think about) and if borrowers need to sign an acknowledgement agreement of replacement costs.

Here are a few policies that might give you some ideas when crafting your own. I am sure that you can easily find many more, but these should provide a good start:

- Irvin L. Young Memorial Library in Whitewater, Wisconsin
- North Vancouver City Library
- Greater Victoria Public Library (This policy mentions that the eReader lending package includes an instruction’s sheet, quite likely created by the library.)
- Maine State Library (This one includes a sample users agreement and a link to other policies.)

The act of creating a lending policy will help you address any service issues that may crop-up for front-end staff as well. Before and during your policy creation, be sure to discuss and share your ideas with other library staff. They will likely have lots of questions about how the lending and receiving will occur and ideas about what should be included in your policy. It might also be a good idea to create trouble-shooting guides and documentation for staff about how to handle these new materials. Hopefully, by engaging in this process you will get a better sense of how best to provide this new and emerging library service.

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