Library Woes

Posted on September 11, 2009. Filed under: Books, Everyday Me | Tags: , , , , , , |

The library is an amazing tool and personally a great thing to not only pay taxes for but to donate to. Libraries can inspire youths who don’t find inspiration elsewhere to learn to read and to learn about topics that they may not find in their curriculum. I recently ran into this nifty calculator online that helps you determine how much ‘value’ you receive in dollar amounts from your library yearly, or even to date. http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/advocacyuniversity/toolkit/makingthecase/library_calculator.cfm  Personally my ‘savings’ figure came out to be $758.90 (to date)  which is impressive and truly an eye opener for those who don’t use the library as much as they should. With that all being said you can see that I am a big advocate of the library; There is nothing better than seeing a bright smile on a young child’s face as they get to leave the library with a book or two, hopefully this is where good reading habits begin.  Lately I have noticed a decline in the library services, procedures, and respect given to the library and their staff.

The books that the library carries are still excellent and the movie selection is closer to what I would expect to find at Blockbuster which exceeds my expectations. My expectations are failed when the library staff is unhelpful and can’t be bothered with assisting patrons. There have been many occasions where other patrons have waited for the staff to end personal phone calls to help find a book when they don’t know how to use good ‘ol Dewey Decimal. I have helped many of these people, which I don’t mind but I find the habit of this disturbing. Similarly I have returned books on many occasions and have been told a week later that my book is overdue. After a trek through the shelves I can locate the books, prove that I no longer have it and move on, which is more of a hassle to me but how if their systems, or staff, are that faulty why not take a moment to develop a better strategy for fixing the problems?

What is more disturbing is the condition that I have been finding books and movies in. I have taken many DVDs home to find that they are scratched to high heavens and skipping (minor inconvenience) or flat out will not play at all. This is the most frustrating. Just last week I rented a DVD that would not play in my player. When I took the DVD out and inspected the back side of it to clean it, it was clearly unplayable. I wish I had a picture but it appeared that the last user had sprayed something on the DVD, like hairspray and just left it. There was a terrible film on the DVD as well as watermarks; unfortunately it wasn’t able to be salvaged through any standard DVD cleaning methods. When I brought this DVD to the attention of the library staff they didn’t seem surprised, nor did they seem to care at all simply just commented that they would just have to mark it in their special collection. What is their special collection? Is this such a common issue that there is now a collection of these wonderfully ruined DVDs?  This got me a little upset. Another instance of this user-abuse on the DVD collection was when I went to rent a 2 disc DVD and only had the 2nd disc, with the special features, someone had stolen the first disc which was the actual movie, again that one went into the ‘special collection’.

I think it’s a two-piece problem in this case. I think that those borrowing these materials and not treating them with care are responsible for ruining them and should appropriately remedy the situation(s). The second part of the problem is the employees tasked with checking in materials as they are returned. If the employees aren’t carefully screening the books and movies being returned these issues are easily overlooked. In the case of the book with a missing chapter or a movie with the visible scratches, at that point these items can be removed from the shelves and from circulation, and most likely put into the ‘special collection’ and then the last user can be appropriately fined and the items can be replaced with those paid fees. This will give funds to replace the items that need to be replaced or repaired and will put out a message to the card holders that abusing the material isn’t acceptable and won’t be tolerated which hopefully will reduce the number of items put into the ‘special collection’.

The library is a free resource for residents in our area to enjoy and use. It is a great money-saving tool and can be helpful for entertainment and educational purposes alike. I ask all the library users in the world to abstain from abusing the library! If we all do our part to keep the movies we borrow and the books we read in a respectable condition the library can use their funds to buy NEW materials instead of constantly replacing materials that are misused by card holders.

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2 Responses to “Library Woes”

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Wow! This is just awful! I haven’t used the library in a while but I did worknon a video store once. Whenever we charged someone for ruining an item (or in one case putting an old game in the case of a new game) NO ONE ever paid up. They just quit using the store so management stopped fining. Sigh. People should really respect things more!!

I know – in a perfect world right?! It’s still a bummer though to get the broken/misused book or DVD – I’m sure it was frustrating at your old store too – just to have people up and leave like that and never pay up, O people…


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