[Web4lib] Headphones in public libraries

Hirst, Edward Alan, Jr EAH0116 at ecu.edu
Tue Mar 27 12:41:24 EST 2007

Why not set up a wiki? pbwiki or wetpaint are both ones that I have used and are pretty simple to set up.
Either one would allow you to set up pages with links that could be updated.


Edward Hirst
Information Technology Librarian
Rowan Public Library
Salisbury, NC

-----Original Message-----
From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org on behalf of HAZEL Margaret E
Sent: Tue 3/27/2007 12:35 PM
To: web4lib at webjunction.org
Subject: RE: [Web4lib] Headphones in public libraries
We've considered getting a vending machine, from which we could vend
earbuds, pens, aspirin, maybe USB thumbdrives....

I know a number of universities do this.  I have not yet worked out all
the logistics of doing this here, however, as it seems we'd likely have
to buy the machine, and then stock it ourselves, which I'm not sure
fixes the problem of having staff handle these transactions, other than
moving the work out of the publicly open time periods.  If I could find
a vendor that stocks and rents the device, I'd be quite happy.

Currently, we have extenders with volume controls on the PCs (zip-tied
to other cables so they won't walk), so folks can use their own
headphones, and we also offer big clunky relatively cheap but tough
headphones at the reference desk, on the honor system.  Yes, they walk.
Reference staff have decided it's a cost of doing business, at this


Margaret E. Hazel
Principal Librarian, Technology
Eugene Public Library
Eugene, OR

-----Original Message-----
From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org
[mailto:web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org] On Behalf Of Louise Alcorn
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2007 8:39 AM
To: web4lib at webjunction.org
Subject: Re: [Web4lib] Headphones in public libraries

 We actually lend them out - they give us their name and phone number on
a checkout sheet (very simple) and we give them the headphones,
reminding them to return them when done.  We keep them in ziploc bags
with their checkout sheet and have one of our volunteers wipe them with
alcohol periodically.  It's not sophisticated, but it works.
Occasionally they'll forget to bring them back to us (we lend them out
at the adult and children's service desks, which are near the two main
areas of computers), but we usually find them still plugged into a
station.  You could also have them leave a library card or ID, though
it's usually kids wanting them, and they rarely have ID.

Yes, this is staff intensive, but not overburdensome (is that a word?
Whatever.)  And yes, in a larger location this would probably be
difficult, but perhaps it gives you an option.

They can bring their own, but most of them don't have cords long enough
to reach to where they have to plug into the machine.  In fact, the
hardest part for us is explaining to patrons where to plug the darn
things in!  (on the back of the CPU, which is a pain)

For what it's worth, we even have personal laptop users checking these
out, because they forget to bring their own.  Fine by us, as long as
they bring them back.  

Best of luck!
Louise E. Alcorn
Reference Technology Librarian
West Des Moines Public Library
4000 Mills Civic Pkwy
West Des Moines IA 50265
(515) 222-3573      louise.alcorn at wdm-ia.com

-----Original Message-----
From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org
[mailto:web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org] On Behalf Of Masud-Paul, Janice
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2007 10:01 AM
To: web4lib at webjunction.org
Subject: [SPAM] - [Web4lib] Headphones in public libraries - Found
word(s) free adult in the Text body

Good morning.


We are a public library with free internet access for anyone who enters.
We also connect headphones to all of our public computers. As you might
imagine we have experienced some headphone theft, but our primary
problem is breakage.  It doesn't seem to matter if we purchase $60
headphones or the $1.00 variety; we still replace them frequently. 


We are considering removing the headphones from the adult stations and
selling new headphones for $2.50. We really aren't making a profit; but
it will cover the cost of purchasing the headphones and is also a more
sanitary option since the customer will keep them. We tried lending
headphones in the past but collecting and returning IDs was labor


Do any of you sell headphones in your libraries?  How much do you
charge? If you don't sell headphones have you opted to distribute them
with ID or do you require the customer to bring his/her own. Thanks in
advance for your input. --janice



Janice Masud-Paul
Supervisor, Information Technology
Camden County Library System
203 Laurel Rd. 
Voorhees, NJ 08043
janicem at camden.lib.nj.us
856-772-1636 x3336 Phone
856-772-6105 Fax 


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