Blocked Patrons? Now What?
When a patron fails to return an item or a few, you’ll send overdues, reminders, and then finally a bill. What happens then? If you are not partnering with Unique for Material Recovery, likely nothing is happening with those patrons and a once valuable library patron is totally disconnected from their previous resources. Remember these were once active patrons, adding to your circulation and door count. When they are blocked, they remain totally disconnected from the library’s resources. All that is needed is a Gentle Nudge® to get them back in the door.
How does Material Recovery help? Patrons referred to Unique for Material Recovery receive a series of gentle letters and phone calls over the next several months encouraging them to get back in touch with their library to return the items and restore good standing. Also, we understand they may have changed addresses in the interim, so we use a series of databases to find their best contact information as we reach out and communicate any changes found back to the library.
What are the results? Over 50% of patrons respond and bring their accounts back to good standing with the library, greatly reducing the number of blocked patrons from your system and increasing the number of materials returned to circulation. What does that mean for your library? With only 1-2% of patrons being referred to Unique annually, using Material Recovery process results in 0.5-1% of your patrons returning as active cardholders again once you’ve stopped reaching out. That’s 50-100 patrons per 10,000 cardholders annually you are getting back in the door, not to mention the items that would be lost.
What libraries does this work for? Unique partners with about 2,000 library systems including public and academic, both fines free and fines charged. Our partners understand is that keeping patrons coming back to the library in good standing increases access while being good stewards of your resources. We understand that all libraries are unique, and all settings for Material Recovery can be custom set to your policies and preferences.