Q & A: Library Credit Cards

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Original Question by Emerson Murphy: Do I have the only system in Georgia that does not have a library credit
I'm getting a lot of pressure to do this and I'm reluctant for a variety of
reasons. One is that I know we will end up paying sales tax on a lot of
small items simply because some folks will almost always take convenience
over accountability, and then argue that it doesn't matter much because all
the items are of little expense; another is that we don't handle all
affiliate funds directly, and I'm pretty sure some of my managers will end
up with late charges on occasion, and that's something that makes me crazy;
another is that I just don't want to see upstanding institutions like
public libraries mixed up with a nasty entity like the credit industry;
another is that I don't want to see another temptation made easy. Can or
should anything be done with a library credit card that can't be done
through a small petty cash fund?
Does anyone NOT have library credit cards? How have you dealt with
pressure to provide them (because they are convenient and everyone else has
What I really want is to able to argue that I'm not alone in this, because
my staff thinks I'm the last holdout in the world. I need to know whether
that's true.

Response made by Tamara George: Just so you know that you are not alone, Cobb does not and the county manager says we never will.

Response made by James Cooper: The only credit cards West Georgia Regional Library has is a gas card (that is seldom used) and a card from Home Depot, with only the Director
authorized to use it.
I don't believe in general credit cards (Visa, MC, etc.) for library use!

Response made by Donna Howell: Take heart - you are not alone!! We do not have one either. And I do not want to get one! We do have a BP card for vehicle gas purchases and a Home Depot credit account for supplies, but nothing like an Amex or Visa
card for general purchasing. To me it is just better to put things like
motel bills and such on my own card (or whoever is traveling) and do a
travel reimbursement and then I know exactly who is getting money for what
and it is a nice audit trail. If any company won't do business with us on a
30 day net bill or a pre-payment for small items then we don't need to do
business with them. And I am just not willing to open up the kind of
temptation to staff that might result in one of those P-card horror stories
on the 6 p.m. news. Yes, I am a dinosaur. And that is OK with me!

Response made by Joe Forsee: While we DO have them, Emerson, I was definitely against it. I refused for years, but was finally pushed screaming into the decision by--get this--the state auditors. The rest is history, and I'll share it with you if you want
to know, but it doesn't much matter--done deal.

Response made by Claudya Muller: We have two kinds of purchase cards. One set of credit cards is provided by the school district to be used in places like Office Max,
Staples, etc. The other is provided by the Friends of Libraries and can be used anywhere to purchase supplies, refreshments, etc for programs. We require receipts and explanations. Every branch manager has access to both types of cards. I personally never touch them and don't want to.

Response made by JoEllen Ostendorf: We don't have one either except for a Staples Credit Card and a BP gas card. BTW, did you all know that Staples has a corporate
credit card that is at least an additional 30% off their prices? It's a yearly fee but since we are a member of the Chamber of Commerce, we get ours free. The order is placed on their web page or called in and they deliver it gratis the next day. This takes care of most runs for little things (tape, scissors, etc.) when we have run out.

Response made by Anne Isbell: Lake Blackshear does not have library credit cards of any kind and we do not intend to get them.

Response made by Lace Keaton: OKRLS does not have a library credit card either, you are not alone.

Response made by Gary Swint: Right now we do not accept credit cards, or have a credit card. We may look into it in the near future.

Response made by Barry Reese: We have library credit cards and cannot imagine not having them... we mainly use them for various online purchases (young adult programming items, for instance). I can tell you honestly that most of the concerns people have about them are unfounded -- if you limit who has access to them and use them only for those sites or businesses that don't like billing you or using purchase orders, they can be a valuable alternative.

Response made by Laura Harrison: Brooks County does not have a library credit card.

Response made by Alan L. Kaye: We have a library Visa card, a Home Depot commercial account, and a Lowe's commercial account. We use them fairly often, and we accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover for amounts over $5.00.
I put hotel bills on the Visa, and most places EXCEPT THE DESOTO HILTON will
give us the state sales tax waiver when we use it. We don't have any
library vehicles, so we turn in mileage rather than putting gasoline on the
I think we have a good system of accountability for the use of our cards,
after some suggestions from the auditors.

Response made by Chuck Gibson: We have them. Only 2 of us have access to them. I have a library Visa and a FOL Visa. We also have one to Staples and Sams Club. My Admin assistant is the only one who has access to those. I was not wild about getting them when I got here (at least the Visa Cards) but Liza had them and everyone was use
to having them for online purchases. I do have to say that my Business Manager prefers that I use it when I travel for the hotel and airline expenses....

Library Credit Cards

Sara Hightower Reg. Lib. owns three credit cards and has for 15 years. We use them for Internet purchases, hotel rooms, registrations, and other fees.