Posted by Betty J. Mason November 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm. From 64.170.7.x Report Abuse
Thank you, that poll was brief and painless.
Posted by Karla November 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm. From 74.123.243.x Report Abuse
I chose patron and user (don't know if 2 choices are allowed) because I use them both. I use patron more when talking with other professionals in the library field. When talking with students, I refer to them as users.
Posted by Stephanie November 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm. From 74.123.243.x Report Abuse
I have always used patrons.
Posted by Mary November 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm. From 137.229.229.x Report Abuse
Patrons out of both habit and circulation system nomenclature, (which means that they check items out). Visitors for the somewhat higher numbers who come in to use free wi-fi.
Posted by Freya November 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm. From 158.145.240.x Report Abuse
It said I already voted. I used to always use patron, but now I used different terms in different contexts. I tend not to use or like customer. I like client.
Posted by Nancy Steinmann November 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm. From 76.95.135.x Report Abuse
"Patron", while retaining a gendered root word, still seems the best to me because it implies a reciprocal relationship. They don't just "use" us as "users", they give us their "patronage" or support. According to the Oxford dictionary, "patron" is defined as " a person who gives financial or other support to a person, organization, or cause", while the word "patronage" implies "the support given by a patron", and "the right to privileges". I think this is better than "customer", which simply denotes "one who buys goods or services".
Posted by June November 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm. From 216.67.28.x Report Abuse
I've never liked "customer," which makes us sound like grocery stores, nor "guest," a term more suited to hotels, and one that seems to place us in an ownership position. I'm now retired, and like many librarians of a certain age, l used "patron" for most of my career; but I now prefer "user" as the most accurate and class-neutral term. "Patron" still has that upper-class, patron-of-the-arts connotation that no longer includes most of the folks who wander through our doors.
Posted by Randi Stocker November 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm. From 140.182.66.x Report Abuse
I agree with Lou Malcomb. I use patron, user, and client, depending on the circumstances.
Posted by Muriel Strand November 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm. From 24.10.60.x Report Abuse
i believe "patron" is traditional. and one can no longer just say "readers."
Posted by John D. Berry November 9, 2012 at 11:36 am. From 169.229.243.x Report Abuse
This probably should have been a multi-question poll. JDB
Posted by Nancy Schimmel November 9, 2012 at 11:15 am. From 75.101.91.x Report Abuse
I don't work in a library now, but I did, so that probably skews my answer toward "patron" which I chose. But I'll count in your poll as a patron who uses "patron," even though the word is from my librarian days. User is probably the trend from computer use, and that's ok. Anything is better than "customer," in my view. We are not buying anything. We are not guests, either. We own the place.
Posted by Lisa Hubbell November 9, 2012 at 10:54 am. From 75.101.48.x Report Abuse
I think whatever term we choose frames how library staff view the people we serve. I used to work in museums, where they were usually called "visitors", which to me acknowledges that most people drop by occasionally to sample what's there. Some front-line staff called them "guests", which sounds like hotels and Disney to me, with an emphasis on customer service over and above the content of the experience. Because libraries are free, we have many people who come quite regularly to use the collections and services and programs. "Users" seems accurate to me, while "patrons" acknowledges that we're supported by their taxes and puts some emphasis on courtesy. Perhaps "patrons" are our bosses, while "guests" are people with a temporary privilege. "Members" doesn't seem right to me, unless we're distinguishing who has a library card. "Customers" implies enticing them to pay, which I hope we're not moving towards. I wonder if new language will evolve as more libraries orient towards participatory involvement.
Posted by Ms. Hanks November 9, 2012 at 9:32 am. From 134.186.55.x Report Abuse
I use library patrons, or library users if I am talking about library programs and services. Customers was common about 4-5 years ago in California as were marketing surveys and secret shoppers - used to create high-end customer care models. In the library I like to greet the folks that come through the door by their name when possible.
Posted by Lou Malcomb November 9, 2012 at 9:21 am. From 129.79.34.x Report Abuse
I use them all, i.e. user, patron, client... depending on the circumstances.
Posted by Mrs. Low November 9, 2012 at 8:28 am. From 205.202.34.x Report Abuse
It was difficult to answer your question because if I am talking to other library professionals, I use patron. But if I am talking to library professionals, I talk about users, especially if I am speaking about digital access.
Posted by Sarah November 9, 2012 at 8:03 am. From 142.177.57.x Report Abuse
I like 'visitor' because I am always made to feel welcome in the People's Place by staff and community.
Posted by Eric November 9, 2012 at 6:55 am. From 64.26.68.x Report Abuse
I say "patrons" but would like to switch to users. When I talk about people who use our web services, I say "users" because patronizing a website seems weird.
Posted by D November 9, 2012 at 5:36 am. From 66.58.204.x Report Abuse
I think that users and possibly guests are the most accurate terms to use. I do, however, tend to call them patrons just as much out of habit (ah, legacy).
Posted by lynn November 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm. From 72.67.140.x Report Abuse
it depends on who i'm talking to, the point i'm trying to make, and other contextual aspects, but all of them are valid. "sir" and "ma'am" are also nice.
Posted by John Jackson November 8, 2012 at 10:15 pm. From 142.129.221.x Report Abuse
I use all terms interchangeably depending on which sounds the most poetic at the moment. Seriously.
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