are our date due receipts as useful as they could be?

Here’s a fantastic idea mentioned to me this morning by a library volunteer: book recommendations on date due receipts. As in, If you liked [item checked out], check out [related item].

If vendors made this happen I wonder if they’d use subject headings to drive the recommendation engine. I don’t like this idea. It would be much more interesting to capture and use data about patterns in how the collection circulates. This would be a more user centered approach. Ideally there would also be a URL and code next to the recommendation so patrons could rate the pairing of items, providing human feedback into the process. It would improve with use, but I’m sure it would give some hilariously interesting recommendations too.

Does anything like this exist? John, Casey, Glenn, Dave? Could you build this for me soon please? KTHXBYE.

What about promoting upcoming library events on our receipts? Surely some library is doing this?

7 thoughts on “are our date due receipts as useful as they could be?”

  1. Seems like there must be a way to harness the LibraryThing recommendations engine for that purpose. If you can get that info into a PAC, why not the receipts?

  2. Several libraries in our consortium promote upcoming events, run coupon specials for coffee shops, etc. on their receipts

  3. There is a company printing stuff on the receipts – tscpl thought about it maybe 2 years ago (but passed on it). But you’re right – it’s just another way to market your stuff… and it would be very cool to both print real recommendations, and to print them with nicely designed fonts and sizes! Get right on that, will you?

  4. We’ve done it a couple of times to promote big things, like IM and telerenewal. But other than that, it’s claimed to be too complicated* to make more timely changes.

    *I honestly half-believe this since I saw the boot screen the other day with a huge Windows 95 logo.

  5. Most systems can do this. In Polaris, you can type in what you want the receipt to say. We run one item from our library news, like advertising our flash drives, reminding of the renewal service (most useful), and other items.

    Polaris also has an outreach module they have recently rolled out. I am tweaking the public interface. However, the person fills out what they like (authors, genres, subjects), and what they don’t like, then it also weeds out what they have read. We are harnessing it for our bookmobile and eventually for our books by mail service. It could work as a recommendation service. The problem would be finding a way to plaster that information on the receipt.

    The other problem is that does anyone read the receipt? :)

  6. Cool idea Aaron!

    We’re already doing personalised suggestions based on a user’s borrowing history when they log into the OPAC (these get around 30 click thru’s a day).

    Our RFID units use SIP2, but I’m not sure if SirsiDynix Horizon supports being able to include personalised messages via the SIP2 controller?

    What might be a funky thing to do is to add personalised suggestions to our pre-overdue emails, which are the courtesy emails we send out 2 days before an item is due back.

  7. An automation company, Biblionix, here in Texas took the suggestion of the library staff and added in the amount that the materials checked out would have cost the patrons and had that added to the bottom of the receipt. Different from your suggestion, but interesting.
    “Clear value-add of the library: At checkout, the printed receipt is more than just a record of what items were checked out. The Apollo receipt shows how much money the patron has saved for the year by using your library. This is calculated by totaling the value of all the items that have been checked out by that patron.”

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