Posted by Cheryl November 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm. From 199.91.239.x Report Abuse
We use the term "Patron" at our library. An article I read recently made a good case for using the term "Member."
Posted by Ginny Weeks November 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm. From 65.19.224.x Report Abuse
I voted for "patrons" although I do use other terms, too. I work in an academic library, so I also use "students", "faculty", "users",
"community members" and sometimes "Elders." When I worked in K-12 schools, I used "students", "teachers", and grade level, such as "Kindergartners", "seventh-graders", etc.
Posted by Kate November 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm. From 66.96.71.x Report Abuse
My public library system uses 'patron" so I tend to use that professionally. I personally like the argument for "member" - one signs up for a library card and becomes a member of the library - a part of that community. However I do not see "member" getting a lot of use or support in the United States at the moment. I sometimes think that those of us who resonate with member should just move over to using the term and it would become lingua franca. Maybe.
Posted by Laura November 13, 2012 at 11:52 am. From 69.152.41.x Report Abuse
I have worked at libraries that require users to be as "customers". I believe that they found it both cold and confusing.
Posted by Joyce Baker November 13, 2012 at 11:48 am. From 67.128.3.x Report Abuse
I use Patron most often for all of the reasons cited by Dani in SC. However, I am at a new library and the City staff who work in other departments use Customer. I don't see Customer as a negative term. A business wants Customers to use their service, and that's what we do - provide an environment that welcomes people to use our services. Either one reflects our environment.
Posted by Connie Barrington November 13, 2012 at 11:20 am. From 204.102.6.x Report Abuse
I use patron, but mostly because I am used to it and don't know that any other term really hits it on the head, anyway.
Posted by Dani in SC November 13, 2012 at 10:32 am. From 198.204.92.x Report Abuse
As part of the younger generation I think I'm a little odd in that I prefer patron, both as a service provider and as a service user. "Patron" to me indicates that the library values the person both as a user AND as an invested part of the organization. Without "users" we aren't a library - they're a necessary part of the service model, so that's just a descriptive term to me - useful for statistics and "usage" logs. "Patron" indicates that we care about the person's opinions and desires and needs, rather than just seeing them as another tick on a log-sheet to get us funded for the next year. Alternatives are not much better than User: Guest implies that the person is not welcome to STAY, Client indicates a distant relationship, and Customer is horridly impersonal.
Posted by Jennie November 13, 2012 at 10:31 am. From 108.160.230.x Report Abuse
I like customer primarily because I think libraries are a business in many ways. We provide a service in the community and work to meet the needs of those who come in. In terms of ownership, I think that customers should have "ownership" in their experience and when I'm a customer in a store or anywhere, I consider myself an investor in that service/business. I want the people who come in to feel that same sense of investment.
Posted by Beata in reply to Jennie November 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm. From 65.249.61.x Report Abuse
This is exactly what I think, thanks for saying so.
Posted by GJB November 13, 2012 at 10:21 am. From 146.7.112.x Report Abuse
I mainly refer to persons who come to the library physically or virtually as patrons. However, when referring to patrons in the context of their use of materials, services or technology I often refer to them as library users.
Posted by Stephanie Tolson November 13, 2012 at 10:18 am. From 198.209.26.x Report Abuse
We serve "students", "faculty" and "the community" who visit our community college library.
Posted by Brenda November 13, 2012 at 9:51 am. From 67.217.133.x Report Abuse
What do people receiving service call the service provider?
Posted by Dan November 13, 2012 at 9:49 am. From 216.249.135.x Report Abuse
I like the use of the client
Posted by Anne Carr-Wiggin November 13, 2012 at 9:27 am. From 68.149.171.x Report Abuse
Many of these terms are more appropriate to public libraries. In our consortium of academic and special libraries, "client" is the word that works for all.
Posted by Laura November 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm. From 130.156.8.x Report Abuse
I prefer to just call them people because they have a whole life and existence beyond what they do in the library and calling them people or persons honors that. I think patron is old-fashioned and fussy. User makes me think of computers and/or substance abuse. Visitor makes me think of theme parks and customers is too business-oriented.
Posted by Scott M. November 12, 2012 at 9:43 am. From 134.84.28.x Report Abuse
I get a lot of pushback in my institution against "patrons", so try to use "users" instead. But it tends to make me think of "substance users", so I don't like it. I end up using both.
Posted by Helen Clements November 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm. From 70.245.29.x Report Abuse
Our practice in my academic library is to use "patrons". I also use "student" pretty frequently, and try not to use "kids" (I'm of an age where anybody who isn't pretty gray is a kid.) You are raising an interesting question. Does that sound a little formal to the people who come to many small libraries?
Posted by Helen Clements in reply to Helen Clements November 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm. From 70.245.29.x Report Abuse
I meant to say, does "patrons" sound a little formal? "Users" or "visitors" might be less commercial-sounding. By the same token, we have study rooms that patrons can reserve and laptops they can check out, and students frequently refer to that as "renting a room" or "renting a computer".
Posted by Steve Johnson November 11, 2012 at 10:10 am. From 72.42.170.x Report Abuse
I try to be specific when referring to those who utilize library services and collections: students, teachers, graduate students, attorneys and legal researchers, consultants, oil industry, mining industry, state and federal agencies, and on and on. "Researchers" is a blanket term that seems to fit those at my library better than "users" or "patrons" or "customers."
Posted by Indexina November 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm. From 69.113.206.x Report Abuse
The question asked "should" so even though I habitually use patron or user, I think member would make people feel more inclusive (after all we have library cards, that's like a membership card).
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