PayPal Mobile for Libraries?

June 6, 2006 at 3:11 pm 3 comments

Here is a great example of thinking about technology and how it can be applied to libraries!

Kate Sherrill, Librarian at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana – Evansville, posted this on a listserv I am on (copied here with permission):

“I just signed up for PayPal Mobile, so then I was thinking, what is this good for? Here’s an idea: Your library has a PayPal account, a patron needs to check out materials, but has something he needs to pay. He doesn’t have enough cash on him, you don’t take credit/debit cards, and he doesn’t have his check book. He whips out his phone, PayPals you the money via text message, you instantly receive a confirmation email, the fine is paid, he gets his stuff and goes away happy. How awesome would that be?

Great thought process!
– New Technology
– What’s it good for? How does it help make our patrons’ lives easier?
– Aha-moment!
– Everyone’s happy!

Of course, with this particular idea, there may be a few issues:

1) most libraries generally discouarge cell-phone use, so the patron may have to step outside


2) I believe PayPal has fees associated so the patron and/or library may sacrifice some payment for fees

BUT maybe the service and convenience is worth it!

This way of thinking is just what we need to be doing in the library world and reminds me of what Leslie Burger was saying this past April at the NJLA conference. She said that she is always thinking about the library. When she reads the paper or sees something in the news she asks herself, how could this apply to the library? Or, how will this impact library services and library users?

I really try to think this way and I think that Kate’s comment was a great example of this!

So, are any libraries currently using PayPal in any way – to collect payments, accept donations or other!?

More on PayPal Mobile here and here.


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  • 1. Kate  |  June 6, 2006 at 7:18 pm

    I believe with PayPal the receiver of the money pays the charges, but I think that it would be money well spent. Libraries are already paying for all the notices, bills, etc. that we are generating to try to collect money. If it saves us from turning that person over to collections, then paying the PayPal charge is a heck of a lot cheaper.

  • 2. Janie L. Hermann  |  June 6, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    This is such a cool idea. Wouldn’t it be great if we could send notices via email for lost books and just include paypal account info for payment online? Who wants to make a separate trip to the library to pay for a lost item. Much easier to pay with PayPal.

    I am grooving on this concept.

  • 3. 7 dollar secrets  |  April 10, 2008 at 5:12 am

    that’s a great idea..

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