Today's topic on the library begins with an event at the library.. so bear with! I'll tell the story first and then present you with the issue.
|Circulation Desk at Hampden (where I work!)|
Fast forward: Tonight I walked out to the desk (see above where it's calm and quiet. Tonight? Not so calm or quiet) where the same woman was talking to the circulation clerk (who I supervise). I overheard the circulation clerk saying, "Okay, so we'll put a 3 item block on his card which will limit him to three items when he comes in." Skerrrch!!!! You'll do what??? We aren't allowed to block anyone's cards unless they have fines that exceed their limit and WE do not do that, the computer does that or unless they need to bring in their proof of address. I didn't say anything (although now I wish I had) but I went back to speak to a friend who happened to be working at my branch who is also a lead clerk. How to solve the dilemma?
An hour or so later: After speaking to the person in charge of Homebound cards, we were able to give the young man a Homebound card giving him more time to get his items back to the library and keep him from getting fines (as long as he gets them back). I haven't yet decided whether to speak to the mother about it... my circulation clerk certainly made an big error by saying we could do something that we could not do but I believe that the way we handled the issue may keep her from coming back to the library and harassing us about his card (I hope). He's an adult, I'm not sure I need to call and explain to her, I need to give it some thought (you can weigh in here if you want).
So having gotten everything straightened out, finally, I informed my clerk that they could not put blocks on anyone's card blocking them from checkout or limiting their checkout (except for above stated reasons which they do know). Even a child's.
What is this you say???? the clerks ask. (although they should have known this already!)
|Hampden Library (my branch)|
|Central Library (where the bigwigs live)|
In the case of a minor child (over 14): (Here's where it gets really tricky. This works somewhat like it did with the Downs Syndrome kid.) If a kid is 14 or over and has a school ID they can get a library card without their parent's permission. This gives them access to information at the library for homework which they might not have if they wait around for parents who are too occupied for their teenage kids' school assignments. However, the kids may still accrue fines (if they're irresponsible) and if the parents are unhappy with how the kid is using the card, there is no law that says the parent has to pay the fine. Even if it goes to collections it will be a ding on the kid's credit, not the parents when they hit 18 (this is really unfortunate for those kids whose parents have racked up fines on their cards-- and I have seen a few). Thus, the kid is blocked from using the library. Problem solved. They can then clear it up when they turn 18. Or not.
So what do you think? Denver Public Library bases their policy (albeit a bit tricky) on the Freedom of Information Act. Even little children have the right to access information (within limits). When they become teens or if they have Downs Syndrome, they can get information without mom and dad's permission.
What do you think???