Monday, May 19, 2008

Teething troubles

It's safe to say that, so far, the new library system has gone down like a lead balloon.
Actually, it's not safe to say. The Powers That Be would be very angry if they knew I was dissing it. Weirdly, I was very positive initially. Apart from the demise of the date-stamp of course. I could see how the catalogue was going to look better (like Amazon) and that sending emails to let customers know their books were in, and being able to easily re-new and make reservations online at home was a great idea.

And it is. In theory. In an office, or in the computer-based Study Centre upstairs, the new system is Grand. Trouble is, a large portion of our customers are elderly and don't have a computer. They don't like the new receipt system. I'm not being ageist. I know lots of elderlies CAN work computers perfectly well -I'm just relating my experience on Saturday.

Customers couldn't understand why we had to change things. They got cross. The system seems much slower than before. We have to keep staring at the screen, and waiting and pressing buttons. Someone shouted at us. We got hot and bothered and had to take our cardigans off. A customer asked why we'd spent thousands of pounds of tax-payers money unnecessarily, then got fed-up half-way through the explanation and walked out. Somebody asked why we were producing more bits of paper when there's a worldwide hoo-ha about recycling. I found myself sympathising and got told off. Like a schoolgirl slagging off a new teacher. 'You haven't given it a chance!' Sigh.

We will get used to it. We'll have to. And so will the customers. But right now, things are a Little Bit Awkward at the library.

11 comments:

TOM FOOLERY said...

We got hot and bothered and had to take our cardigans off....

Clarkey, "cardigans" please! You are joking now?

God, I bet you were so tempted to "whip out" you Old Faithful date stamp. He would of been the hero of the day, the Knight in shining armour :) Tommox

Lane said...

I sympathise. If it gets to the stage when you have to take your cardi off, things are serious.

I expect things will get easier and people will adapt (I love all the on-line ordering and notifications).
You still see elderly people in the Post Office getting in a right old flummox trying to withdraw their pensions and forgetting their pin numbers. It's a shame. Hopefully they'll get used to the new fangled system quickly and your cardi can stay safely on:-)

Denise said...

You've got me worried about the powers that be now. Are they trawling the internet, will they leave nasty comments??

Sympathise away, then the customers will be on your side and just shout at the other librarians! Of course you will have to hide from the powers that be, I've not thought this through...

Did that bookshelf ever turn up, and is it any good?

Debs said...

You didnt have to take your cardi off? Blimey, things must have been tense. The worst part is that customers dont consider that you have to put up with the changes too and it wasnt your idea to make them in the first place.

Hope it all settles down soon.

HelenMH said...

Oh dear - libraries should be such peaceful places. I'm sure it will be again ...

Paul Capewell said...

I know it's been hectic because of all the changes, but I felt extremely uncomfortable serving the public last week. Having to explain it all to people when we don't even fully believe in it ourselves is horrible. Some of their responses were horrendous.

I really do wonder how long we will not be date-stamping for. I honestly think we will go back to it when complaints start to roll in (and I hope they do - in a way - to take the horrible personal arguments between staff and customers).

I could write pages on this subject! (I'm sure you could too).

Maddie Moon said...

Oh dear! Any kind of change takes some getting used to, but it sounds as though this could perhaps take longer than anticipated.

I hope you manage to keep your cool and placate all those angry customers!

KAREN said...

tommo - It was a nice Trendy cardi. Honest.
I have spotted a couple of date-stamps lurking under the counter. They may well have to be whipped out in the near future.

lane - Cardi removal is indeed a serious state. Sadly things aren't improving. It's the system itself that's wrong. Much slower than the old one, yet it was supposed to be better. Tut.

denise - I hope they're not, but if they are I'm not saying anything that the other Librarians don't already think!

The bookshelf was a little flimsy for my needs, if I'm honest, but great for daughter's room!

debs - My cardi has never been so off, quite frankly. And it's not getting any better :(

helenmh - Not these days, they're not! And definitely not ours, right now.

paul - I certainly could. It's been worse today, if anything. I think we were HOPING things might have improved but they, er, haven't. Customers still cross :(

maddie - Still placating, with a weary edge! This time next month it'll surely be better??

Cait O'Connor said...

Am with you totally Karen. Progress?

KAREN said...

cait - The public response has been terrible so far - they might have to reconsider at some point.

wordtryst said...

Is it some kind of worldwide library services upheaval? The ones here (in Trinidad) are suddenly demanding that I re-register, bring in IDs etc. to get this new computerized system going. Very trying, if you ask me. I must be getting old and stodgy.