Posted by: paultovell | September 29, 2009

“We don’t care where you live…

…you can join this library!” At long, ever-so-long last, you can go into any public library in the UK and join, regardless of whether you live nearby or not.  This is a massive step forward in the totally inclusive library service that so many of us are working towards as our common vision.

The news has been announced here,

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/98043-chief-librarians-open-up-library-access-across-uk.html

among other places, and I don’t think there’s anything overblown about the language of “opening up for all” – although our journalist may have missed the point that you can already return library books from any authority at your local library.  But we’ll let Ms Page off this once, in the spirit of the occasion.  It seems as though the National Year of Reading may have precipitated this move; last year there was a designated day where anyone could join a library with a generic joining form and a limited check on ID.  Although ID is something still inconsistent across the UK, with some authorities dispensing with the need for proof of name and address altogether, and others preferring to cover themselves against potential loss of stock to Ebay.  Fair point.  Perhaps that’s the next step now – simpler, UK-wide joining forms (if you can do it for a day, why not permanently?) and consistency on ID.  All of which might just spell an end to those awkward, fuzzily-enforced, juvenile-like “visitor cards” – remind anyone of “just visiting” jail in Monopoly?  Thought so.  I’ll await the debate on ID with interest; suffice it to say one of our customers was asked last month if he had any proof of his name, only to offer his arm in response: “I’ve got a tattoo!”

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