On April 1, Pueblo City-County Library District began a new service: Courtesy Renewals. Simply put, the first time that your item comes due, we will automatically renew it. If someone else has a hold on the item, you will be notified, and if you bring it back within a day or two, we will not charge you late fees.
Netflix realized that people hate overdue fees a few years ago. We recognize this, too. The Courtesy Renewals service is our attempt to keep our customers happy.
Each year, customers stop using the library for a number of reasons. 20% of them stop because their accounts have become blocked due to fines. We felt we could change this by preventing the items from becoming overdue in the first place, and in fact, we billed 27% fewer people compared to the same month one year ago.
In addition, we realized that Courtesy Renewals could have an impact on the very heart of library services: children. 40% of the Courtesy Renewals to date have been for juvenile or young adult materials.
And it hasn’t hurt our bottom line, either. Renewals have increased 138% over this month last year, giving us a considerable leg up on our internal circulation goals.
Our only cost for this service was to write the code in our ILS. We will be monitoring the circulation and fine data closely as the program progresses, and will publish our results so that other libraries might benefit from our beta testing this new service.
Speaking of, Columbus Metropolitan Library in Ohio began a similar service on May 1. We look forward to seeing this idea spread to libraries far and wide, for as one colleague told us, “What a great idea. I wish my library did this for me.”
Michael Cox, Director of Public Service
Pueblo City-County Library District