Dear Paula and all-

I waited to reply to this request until I saw what some of the 
synagogue librarians had to say, since ours is a JCC community 
library, not a synagogue library.  But now I will weigh in to agree 
with the repsonses I have seen.

First, there is a definite difference between opening up your online 
catalog to all vs. lending library materials to all.  I would 
definitely encourage universal access to the online catalog -- we 
have experienced no "down side" since we put our catalog online about 
3 years ago.  The benefit is more visibility and an uptick in library usage.

Second, I can share my experience as to lending to a broad community 
through our library, which is located in our JCC but funded by our 
CJLL (Jewish ed. department).  Since our funding comes through 
Federation, not directly from the JCC, we have served the entire 
community, not just JCC members, for the past 18 years.  All I ask, 
before lending, is for the person to give me name, address, phone 
number, and (optional) e-mail address.  I will not lend without 
address and phone number, because I need to be able to contact the 
patron for return of overdue materials.  We have definitely had some 
loss over the years, but I would describe it as minimal.  I do send 
bills to replace long overdue materials, and then the patron usually 
"finds" and returns the item or pays to replace it.  On very rare 
occasion, I find the address and/or phone number to be inaccurate and 
am unable to contact the patron.  When a patron totally fails to 
return or replace items, I mark the patron's record in our catalog, 
so a pop-up alram will come up warning us not to lend to that patron 
in the future until past issues are resolved.

Good luck with your online catalog!  It is really great fun!  Here is 
a link to our home page, which I enjoy cutomizing (with very little 
past tech experience):


Elizabeth Edelglass
Library Director
Jewish Community Library
JCC of Greater New Haven
360 Amity Rd, Woodbridge, CT 06525
(203) 387-2424 x330


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