Library cards free to children of UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff, but not students

Story by Amelia Kimball, Staff Writer

Children of UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff members ages 12-17 are now able to have their own free library card to McIntyre.

Kati Tvaruzka, associate professor, head of access services and education librarian, said the idea of a free library card for children of staff and faculty at Eau Claire came from an email comment the library received from faculty member Harry Jol.

“Because of all the different cuts this University has faced … we thought this might be one thing we can offer for free, a little service to allow faculty and staff of the University with children the ability to get them a library card so they can come and use our services,” Tvaruzka said.

Tvaruzka said Jol’s children sometimes came to the library when he was working during the summer as a fun activity to keep them entertained, but Jol was not sure if his children could use his Blugold card to check out materials.

Under normal circumstances, it is not permitted for anyone to try and check something out from the library without their own card, Tvaruzka said, as it is a privacy issue. She said the person checking out the items is responsible for those items.

“In libraries, you aren’t (suppose) to use someone else’s card. You sign for your own card and your own privileges,” she said. “We really can’t allow anyone to check out one someone else’s behalf without permission of that individual to allow that,” she said.

Some faculty members have gone through this permission process to save them time, Tvaruzka said.

Laurie Roach, who works on technical processing and government publication in the library, was the first person to get a card for her child. She said this recent development was a very good idea because many parents already bring their children to the library for different reasons, and now older children have opportunities to look for research materials.

Roach’s 16-year-old daughter has not been able to use the card yet, but she is excited to be able to check out headphones and other materials, and listen to CDs and DVDs down in the basement.

“She was thrilled to know that she did not have to come and track me down to get headphones. It’ll be nice for me because I won’t have to stop what I’m doing,” Roach said.

Currently, children of Eau Claire students are not able to have free library cards to McIntyre. The system the library uses to link the child card to the adult is through a proxy, which gives children the right to check out materials on the behalf of the adult.

“We have to somehow be able to link in our system the adult with the child. That right now is only allowed to faculty and staff,” Tvaruzka said.

Harry Jol, physical geography professor at Eau Claire, said when his children would go to the library with his Blugold card, the assistants at the front desk were hesitant to check out the items his children wanted because Jol’s face was on the card. Jol said K-12 curriculum is available in the library, so people should take advantage of the resources.

“We need to encourage families with kids to use this library (McIntyre),” Jol said.

Jol said the form allowing his children to have a free library card has just come into his possession. He said with this system, children will have a level of independence to check things out on their own.

This is a new development, Tvaruzka said, so right now, they are simply working on the kinks of the system. If interest is shown for a free library card for children of Eau Claire students, Tvaruzka said they will consider the situation and try to set something up in the future.