It’s Hip to Be Square

A few weeks ago, Mr. Bifocals&Buns and I packed up the dog and headed off to the family cabin for a long weekend. I was flipping through an old magazine one unexpectedly rainy morning and came across a fascinating article about a company/technology called Square.

Square is a way for anyone to turn their smartphone or iPad into a register that will accept credit card payments. Square also always anyone with a Square account to automatically and simply pay for purchases at businesses set up to accept Square account payments. When you sign up for a Square account they’ll even send you the Square card reader free. Square does charge a fee for handling the transaction. You can choose to pay per transaction (2.75%) or a flat monthly rate ($275) depending on what is more economical for your business. For more information on getting and using Square hop on over to their site and have  a look around.

Okay, looks and sounds cool but what does it have to do with libraries right? Well, remember in this post when I confessed some of my dirty little secrets? One of those secrets mentioned was my inability to return library books on time ever. The other part of that confession is that I rarely have cash on me so when I go to the library spur of the moment I often don’t have even the little bit of change necessary to pay off those fines. Now, my librarians are very understanding and nice and will always tell me to worry about it next time. However, I hate having that hang over me and have often wished they would set it up so I could pay my fines online.

Well, what if they set up a Square account? If I have a Square account I could pay my fines just by walking in the library. You don’t have to stop at fines either. You could set it up so people with Square accounts could pay for other library services like copies, printing, hold fees etc. If your library has a coffee shop that could be something people pay for through Square. Square wouldn’t be able to completely replace old fashion money exchanges between librarians and patrons but how 21st century cool does your library look by using Square and making Square available to patrons?

What do you think of libraries using Square? Can you think about other ways to use Square in the library? Anyone have any thoughts on how to use it at a school library? Share away.

Tomorrow we’re discussing another library mashup. Stay tuned for the details.

~Serena

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