Thursday, October 28, 2010

BQOTD- What Would You Do?

So, I grew up with GREAT experiences in the public library. I let my library card lapse when I moved away to college, but got a new one shortly after Lizzy was born. I couldn't WAIT to get Lizzy started with the Babies in the Library program. However, I've had really weird experiences with the library since I got my new card:

-I am SUPER careful with our library books. I typically only check out one or two at a time. Lizzy's books go in a specific basket as soon as we're done with them. When I go to return them, I check them off my list as I put them through the return slot. However, more than once, the library has told me that I haven't returned a book that I most certainly HAVE returned. Usually, I'm able to find the book that I supposedly hadn't returned on the shelves. But that takes some of my time, and usually involves a lot of explaining to whichever volunteer is working.

-On more than one occasion, I have gone to renew a book online, and it confirms that it was renewed. I print out the confirmation. Then several days later, I get a call that I have overdue books. I go in to the library, and they tell me that they have no record of me renewing the book, even though I have the printed confirmation that I have renewed it. Again, we can usually get it resolved, but it just takes unnecessary time.

I've written a letter to the library system, but other than that, I really don't know what to do. I'm dealing with the "you haven't returned this book" situation right now, and it's just irritating to have fines that are totally not my fault. I am tempted to just drop going to the library, but I don't want to do that either! I just have no idea what else to do. Any ideas?


  1. Maybe meet with the library director? I am surprised they can't deal with most of those issues via email, reducing your need to go in person....what a waste of your time!

  2. that sucks :( i guess if you don't get a response from the system then you will have to keep taking the extra time to print confirmations,etc to cover yourself. definitely not convenient, but it would be sad to swear off the library altogether.

    i can totally relate though. i always check out audiobooks, and often they are in bad shape (scratched, and skip tracks...). so once i decided to do the nice thing and let the volunteer know that one of the discs was badly damaged, instead of just dropping it in the slot. she thanked me. two weeks later, i get a notice it's late. apparently she never 'returned' it in the system, and did who-knows-what with it.. i explained the story to four different people, they search for it, act like they don't believe me, etc. it turned into a huge fiasco. audio book is still mia - but luckily they removed it from my account. makes me hesitant to do a good deed for the next listener next time!

  3. Similar things have happened to me in the past, but unlike your situation, the volunteer always assumes it was an error on the part of the library... not that I'm lying. So, I do try to be careful, but I don't stress about it.

  4. I's sincerely copy and paste what you have here and present it to someone as high up in the system that you can go. I think you have a legitimate ... complaint! Seriously already. Not sure if it's feasible or not, but what about going to a different library? I'd probably go that route myself to avoid the obvious incompetence of the current one. What a bummer, too!!

  5. I know it would be a hassle but maybe directly return the books to someone working there?

    Obviously they are not doing their job correctly though. Do you know if other people going to that library have the same problem?

  6. I have also had the "it didn't get back in the system" deal happen, and had to look on the shelves to find it myself. I now return our stuff to a person sitting there and WATCH her scan it back in. HATE late fees...

    Good luck. Don't give up. The library can be such a fun place.

  7. Volunteer at the library and get their shit together! ;)

  8. Totally sucky! I hate when you do your part and the other place/person can't get their stuff together thus creating more headache for you. Total bummer but I would definitely go in and talk to someone, if that doesn't get done go to your local councilman or something because it's the library system somehow tied to local government?

  9. I love the library too (I’m actually in one right now!), and a few years ago had a part time job at my local branch. Let me tell you, it is SO EASY with the computerized barcode system to miss books during check in- it’s just one person sitting at a desk in a small backroom surrounded by huge piles of books, mindlessly scanning barcodes and shifting them from one pile to another. With limited space and enormous turnover of books, these mistakes happen ALL THE TIME when books that should be in the check in pile accidentally get on the shelving pile, or the scanner doesn’t read the barcode and the librarian doesn’t notice. Even though I’ve been that person making the mistake, I agree that it definitely needs to be brought to the attention of the library that it’s happening more than just once in awhile- and they need to be more organized!
    It sounds like on top of this they are having issues with their computer system, because losing renewals is not a human error and is weird- that was not an issue I’ve ever run into.
    One thing that’s helped me is to have librarians know me. Since I’ve been going to that branch since I was little, even before I worked there, they knew who I was and would just trust me that I had turned it in, and erase the fines. Sorry I can’t be more helpful- just wanted to give a little insight.

  10. Hey, not sure how I found your blog, and I NEVER comment on blogs...but I just couldn't resist this time! I live in Guam, at the Naval base, and our library...uses the card catalogue. Is that how you spell it? Like, if you want a book, you pull out this drawer and sift thru the cards to see if they have it (which they never do). Then track it down on the shelves, then bring it to the lady, who writes your name in a card in the back and writes the due date. They don't even have one of those date stampers. The library "website" is a picture of the library with its phone number. And you can't call and ask if they have a book, because she can't leave the desk to go to the drawers and look for you.

    So. I don't have any advice, but I thought you might get a kick out of how different your library could be :)


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