So, the downtown library has gone to the self-serve reserves system that others in the blogsphere have wondered about. I agree with others out there--it's a good idea in theory, but I'm not sure the real world application is going to be that effective. I just think it's a chance for other less scrupulous people to abscond with the book, movie or CD that I've put on reserve and once they do, I'm back to the front of the queue.
The fact that they've installed self-service check-outs and are pushing them may only encourage this.
Yesterday, I went into the library to pick up a hold. I was told I had two from the confirmation e-mail I'd received. I could only find one and so I went to the circulation desk to check out my hold and see if I could get some assistance in finding out where in the world the other one was. (I did look around a bit for it and never found it). Anyway, as I was being helped, some woman who I assume is the Lynn McGill of the library got after one of the head librarians about the fact that the staff was not encouraging patrons to use the new self-serve system. It'd make life so much easier and more cost effective and people won't use it if you don't tell them it's there!
I looked at her, said I'd have been happy to use the new system, but I had a question about a reserve and I needed to speak to someone about it. I then said I'd be happy to try the new system the next time I came in to check out something.
I guess this placated her. I have nothing against the self-scan system. I use it at Wal-Mart, Kroger and various other stores that offer it all the time. But there are times when you want or need to talk to a human being about something and yesterday was one of them. I do wonder if they're slowly going to phase out the actual person who can help you at the library system and instead it will be like the real world equivalent of voice mail--trying desparately to find a real live human being who can answer one simple question for you.
I guess I'm old-fashioned in that way. Sort of like how even though I like the e-book format, there's still something about the weight of a book and the feel of turning the pages. Some things you can never replace.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 3/14/2006 08:22:00 AM