Go by a different name? Library card will now reflect patrons’ preferred names

Maple Ridge branch sees an uptick in registrations through preferred names

Those who want their library record updated to a preferred name, are encouraged to visit their library location and let a staff member know. (Black Press Media files)

Those who want their library record updated to a preferred name, are encouraged to visit their library location and let a staff member know. (Black Press Media files)

Fraser Valley Regional Library branches, including Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows branch, will now accommodate patrons going by different name than the one listed on their ID, in a move to become more inclusive.

With this new option rolled out, the library network is truing to be welcoming, inclusive and accommodating to its patrons, said Scott Hargrove, the chief executive officer with the library.

“We investigated whether there was a way to use a preferred name in the computer system to make our customers feel more at home, and able to live their own identity when visiting the library. The more we investigated, the more we realized that there were many customers who were using names other than the one they preferred,” Hargrove explained, “Many of our customers have nicknames, or go by their second or third names. There are indigenous customers who prefer to go by their traditional name, and newcomers who go by an anglicized name. Members of the trans community often use a different name than the one they were born with.”

Those who want their library record updated to a preferred name, are encouraged to visit their library location and let a staff member know.

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Hargrove said that several customers in Maple Ridge are already opting to use their preferred names during registration, and have gone out of their way to say how great they think the new option is.

“One teen had a preferred name and a dead name, and was very pleased that they were able to use their preferred name on their library card. Customers have also told Maple Ridge staff that they greatly appreciate being able to pick up holds using their preferred name, and that they are able to log into the computers using their preferred name,” he said.

The new system required an upgrade to the computer system for the libraries, and it wasn’t easy.

“It was a little complicated for sure. The computer system we use was not designed with this need in mind, and we needed to adapt it and our procedures accordingly. But it’s important to us that wherever possible, our customers feel comfortable and supported using the library. If they don’t feel they can use the name they prefer, their experience in the library will not be as pleasant and welcoming,” he said.

“One of our staff in Maple Ridge said that they were ‘proud to be working with a progressive library system which isn’t stuck doing things just because that’s how it’s always been done’, which shows that not just customers appreciate the Preferred Name option.”

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