Participatory . . . lending?

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The Web 2.0 revolution has brought user participation to a new level. Thanks to sites such as Wikipedia, YouTube, and the newly announced Media Predict, mere mortals can create and judge content previously controlled by large media companies.

But according to a pair of segments on the July 4th episode of Marketplace, the participatory mantra is coming to an unlikely sector: banking.

Prosper.com and Kiva.org both connect borrowers directly with lenders, without bank intermediaries. Prosper allows users to solicit lenders by posting their need and fully explaining their situation. They can then borrow from (or lend to) multiple individuals, at various dollar amounts and interest rates. Taking a similar approach, Kiva puts a slightly more philanthropic spin on participatory lending: it facilitates microlending. You can make small loans to entrepreneurs in developing nations, where access to credit is difficult to come by.

What do you think? Would you borrow/lend on such a site? Should banks be afraid?

Comments

What is the purpose of having a HOLD system at the Library, if the hold isn't honored? I requested a book weeks ago, and was waiting for it to be turned in (there were 3 copies, and all of them were not turned in by the due date listed in the system). I have checked EVERY DAY to see if one of the copies were returned. Today, i checked and 2/3 have now been checked out! When I went to inquire at the NE branch, I spoke to "Wendy" who informed me that holds are not honored if someone comes in a plucks the book of the shelf! My first question is "Why was it even put on the regular shelf, if a hold had been requested?" And if for some reason it was brought up to be checked out by a person other than the one who requested the hold, why didn't the library staff inform them that it was not available for checkout due to the previous hold? I've been told this more than once! So, WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF REQUESTING A BOOK IF THE LIBRARY WILL NOT HOLD IT???? I was informed that this was the policy. Seems pretty unfair to me!
But I'm supposed to take comfort in the fact that "you're number one on the hold list..." well, whoopty-dee-doo! I've BEEN number one the entire time!


I am very sorry that this happened with your hold. You are absolutely correct that the item should never have made it back to the shelves when it was returned, while you had a hold on it. This was our mistake and I do apologize.

It is, however, quite correct that we will check out an item to the person who has it in hand even if there is a hold in existence. In many cases that person may have chosen that item from the shelf before the hold was placed by someone else. Holds can be and are placed at all times, 24 hours a day, and while patrons at home are placing holds other patrons are actually in the buildings choosing materials from the shelves. Because this does happen frequently, we have chosen to check out the item to the person who brings it to the desk.

Without looking at your record it is difficult for me to see what happened in this case. If you would like me to look into this further, please call the library at 327-4200 and ask to speak to me. I will be happy to discuss this with you.

Diane Dahlem
Circulation Manager