Tuesday, April 17, 2007

5¢/patron, $1/student

For a while now, libraries have been approaching us about whether LibraryThing would sell them bulk memberships—so all their patrons could, potentially, become members. Today at CIL two more people asked. Time to act.

From now on if a public library or a college or university wants to buy memberships for everyone in a community, it's 5¢/patron, $1/student.

The math is easy. If a town wants to give out free LibraryThing memberships, and they have 20,000 patrons—defined as working library cards—they would pay $1,000. If a college or university want it, they pay $1 for every student, grad and undergrad—profs. and staff ride for free. The library gets a stack of membership cards, each with a unique code, good for a year's membership from the date of activation.

  • Patron cards would have to be given out in person, not over the phone.
  • Student accounts would require email confirmation to a valid school email (like Facebook)
  • Communities may elect to set up a group. Members would get an automatic invite for that group.
  • We will work to make sure LibraryThing links to and collects data from the institution in question. The latter requires an open Z39.50 connection.
If interested, write tim@librarything.com.


Anonymous jessica said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/20/2007 12:09 AM  
Anonymous all4metals said...

I would like to know why you decided to set the price for students at $1 and the price for patrons at $0.05. The price difference seems very steep.

4/20/2007 8:41 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

A couple reasons:

1. "Active library cards" is a good measure, but it has nowhere near the implications of being an enrolled student at a college or university. A city of 100,000 may well have upwards 50,000 active library cards, defined as having taken something out in the last year or two.
2. I expect the uptake to be a lot higher among students. People use the library for all sorts of reasons, and many use it rarely. Students are by definition chewing through lots of books.
3. Universities can generally afford it more than public libraries. The value is greater, and their resources are greater.

If the prices were equivalent, a small town of, say, 15,000 would pay the same as, say, Harvard University. That's not fair.

4/21/2007 11:56 PM  
Anonymous Jakob said...

I don't quite understand (maybe because I am not a native speaker and the library systems differ from country to country). What's the difference between a patron and a student? Is every student of an academic library a patron? So do you differ public libraries and academic libraries?

4/26/2007 4:28 AM  

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