A post caught my eye over at Library Stuff about patrons that may find something in OpenWorldCat and head over to the library in question thinking they’ll get the book, only to be greeted by this:

Photo by rooneg.

The post goes on to recommend OCLC design something so that patrons don’t see things from libraries they can’t borrow from. I disagree to a point. I think if a patron is willing to drive to your library then there is really no good reason to deny them, especially if your a public institution. I think the problem lies more in the libraries then in OCLC’s offering. Here at Michigan State we allow anyone in Michigan to get a library card. We are also part of the MichiCard program which, among other things, makes us agree to not charge other member library patrons for the privilege. We don’t charge anyone as far as I know. After all, these are people who pay taxes. Multiple other universities and colleges are also part. I do question our policy of not lending CD’s and DVD’s to community borrowers, however.

I can see the arguments some have for “serving their immediate community” better, but it might be time to re-question what our “immediate community” is, especially in the light of a networked world. Our library does get calls from other countries and we can’t serve everyone. I usually use this as a point to education about ILL programs. That said, I think there’s very few people who actually come through our doors that would be sent home empty handed.

Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems odd to see lots of libraries talking about how to increase usage, serve patrons and make themselves more relevant but then also see them turn away people who actively want to use their library. Just seems backwards to me.