Sunday, October 19, 2008

LIS 768: Work Like a Patron Day (My Choice of Topic Post #2)

That whole "Work Like a Patron" day thing...yeah. I've given it some thought over the last few days, and have come to the conclusion that I don't wanna.

Now, it's not because I can't. Because I can. It's not because life is so grand being the librarian v. being a patron. Because, trust me, it's not.

We already use the same entrances and the same restrooms. There's no public meeting space to reserve, so we're good there. Our (only) computer terminal we have at the circ desk is just as slow as the patron ones, with the same lack of easy to find USB ports...theirs might actually be better because at least their CD-ROM thing works.

It's not even that being a patron would be so hard, because I already am. I have to abide by the policies as well, although if there's a loophole, I'll be sure to find (and use) it. The library I'm at is a smaller branch library. Even though there are Official Policies sent down from Headquarters to be followed, we push the limits as far as we can without completely breaking them. Well, to be sure, I do, anyway.

So, why wouldn't I jump at the chance to Work Like a Patron? Even for just a day? I think it's a good idea and all, but I think I'd become too disheartened to want to come back. Ever.

Which is exactly why I need to take a day, hour, week, month and walk in our patrons' shoes.

Many of the problems in our library have been listed on our annual Project List as something to fix. The library board and the city are working together to improve things, but it never seems fast enough, nor can some of the problems be changed due to systemwide policies. Sometimes it all seems overwhelming...there's so much to fix, where do we start?

For instance, in the instance of the computers, I swear that the saying, "Yesterday's Technology Today!!!!" is spot on. How frustrating it is to not be able to save one's work? Even if a patron brings a flash drive along, just getting to the USB ports are a struggle (they're all on the backs of the inconvenient). And that's without the 30 minute time limit being enforced.

And don't even get me started about the system policy of "all videos and DVDs have a 2 day loan period"--that just makes me want to throw things. And just in case you're wondering what the overdue fines are for said items, that would be $1/day. And your card gets blocked when you hit $5 in overdue fines.

When I read The Starbucks Experience for my context book, I realized that we're on the right track, and eventually we'll get there. But will it be soon enough?

So, for now, even though I don't wanna...I will take the time to Work Like a Patron and look at the library and the services it offers with fresh eyes.

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