The Maydupp Library District in Indiana has initiated a new service called, "Dusty Books for Rusty Memories." Patrons between the ages of 60 and 75 are entered into a Circulation database and every time that patron visits the library and checks out materials, a random "dusty book" (one that hasn't circulated in the past six months) is placed on hold in the patron's account. When the patron receives the message the material is on hold, she will often come in to claim the item and check it out, not remembering when or why she placed the hold.
According to Peggy Newton-Figg, the division manager, "older patrons are very trusting and we are usually able to charge these extra books to them without any argument. The patron is often confused by the selection, since it may not be a subject or by an author she's ever heard of, but usually writes off the confusion to having had a 'senior moment.'"
Using this new service, the library as been able to increase circulation by 300%.
In an age when libraries are attempting to form new bonds with their patrons through blogs and other social tools, the Maydupp District favors a more traditional approach. "Many social networking utilities fail because the general public are not technologically-savvy enough to be ready to participate," Newon-Figg added. "We remove the stigma associated with new things by removing the patron input completely. We think of this as Library 2.0 for Dummies. In this case, participation is not a participatory event."
So far the project has shown positive results within the age group. According to research on people over 75, most Americans just don't want to see anyone that old driving on the road, or in supermarkets, or in line at the bank, so the library decided to use that age as a cut-off. Because anyone older should really just stay in bed.
[it was pointed out to me that the idea of allowing patrons to sign up for a service which reserves random books might be interesting... if patrons could opt-in or out for specific subjects or genres... remember, you got the idea from me! the idiot!]