I’ve lived in several towns and have frequented several libraries through out the years. But my most recent haunt is the worst of the worst. here’s some examples.
-The mother with the crying child the comes in every day at around the same time. I don’t know what this kid (3-5, I’m bad at guessing ages) is so upset about every day but he seems to think that the library is the place to throw his tantrum and mom does fuck all nothing about it.
-People on their phones, even though there several notices including one in front of each computer, asking people to turn off ringers, go outside to talk, and If you have to pick up in the building, speak quietly until outside. None of these rules are followed.
-Loud, noisy people in general. I know its a small town and everyone knows each other here, I even run into friends on a regular business. Just use your indoor voices please. I don’t need to hear about how tore up you got last night, nor do I need to hear who is fucking who now. Especially from across the room.
-The librarians are useless here so there is really no point in complaining to them. I don’t know what their deal is but wow. The circulation desk often uses the building wide intercom to let the reference desk know they have a phone call, even though they are on opposite walls of the same room. Walk the fucking ten feet, throw a paper airplane, just be quiet about it.
I always thought that the library was supposed to be a quiet place to read, learn or just enjoy looking at books, apparently I was mistaken.
Oh yeah I almost forgot, If you have the first 2 books of a trilogy, it would be nice if you had the third book as well. I don’t mean it was checked out, they just don’t have it. Now how the hell am I supposed know if Thrawn wins or not?
Seriously, a complete trilogy is not too much to ask for is it?
My library’s problem is having the last two of a series while omitting the first. Not as annoying in a “leaves you hanging” sort of way, but I’m sure I’m missing out on some good books because I won’t start in the middle
I love my library, but its hold period is confiscatorily short. If you can’t get yourself to the library within three days to pick up your book, not only does it vanish, but they charge you a dollar! Some people are busy.
Horrible thing, and I say that as a librarian and an avid reader.
Often times, though, at least at my place, we had the first title in the series but it was ripped off. It can be a hassle tracking down a fairly clean, readable replacement copy if the title is out of print. Not impossible, but sometimes replacements get pushed down the task list, especially compared to getting new titles out in a timely manner. “Why don’t you have X book yet? I saw it at Borders!” Because publishers ship first to the big chain bookstores and bookstores don’t have to catalog their stuff.
But at the very least the staff should offer to get it on interlibrary loan for you. If they don’t, ask them to. And don’t take no for an answer.
Hearing about bad library practices makes me depressed and angry. Some things are unavoidable, like tight budgets, etc. But sloppy public service ticks me off.
My advice is to complain. Do it politely, and don’t do it to the front line staff. Either ask to speak to the administrator or write/talk to the Board. There is no excuse for not enforcing a relatively peaceful atmosphere for all users.
In our new home town, the library here has a very interesting policy… there are no late fees. So, if you can imagine, there’s also not very many books or a rush to add recent ones that are beyond the glaringly popular.
< sigh >
All this is making the wait for Zombie all the more intolerable.
Wow. I am counting my blessings. My library is just amazing. I just started using Inter-Library Loan this year, & it’s brilliant. I think I may be able to read all of Tezuka’s Phoenix cycle for free. Reading this, I’m no longer so annoyed at the smokers who stand outside the west entrance smoking right under the sign that says, ‘Smoking permitted outside East Entrance Only’.
I am counting my blessings, too. While my library does have a couple of books where they have only the first in the series, they are just wonderful. They have great customer service and will go the extra mile. I once e-mailed them to report that two volumes of a book were labeled as the same (Romance of the Three Kingdoms - they had Vol I & II, but they were both labelled in the computer system as Vol I) and they e-mailed me back thanking me for the correction and then asked me if I wanted to put them on hold.
Last year I cleaned out some of my video games and comic books and donated to them and they nearly jumped up and down with joy.
My complaint is the one downtown is, well, downtown (thus, no parking, and it’s not close enough to walk), and the nearest one elsewhere has a pitiful collection. I walk in, see tables through most of the room, and the actual book collection stuffed in a corner. I grew up in the middle of buttfuck nowhere, and we still had a better library.
It’s strange. I live in a small, poor county and our library system rocks. Nice librarians, great services, a huge selection from their consortium, etc. When I was a kid I lived in a different county and there all the librarians were rather mean. The first time I had an overdue book in my current county, I took it back and was cringing, waiting to have something nasty said to me and the librarian told me that they loved overdue books since they brought in money. That small difference in attitude makes all the difference in comfort.
I was at our local library once, and a small unattended child was flinging himself hither and yon, tossing books onto the floor, and making a general nuisance of himself. To my great delight, a stern-looking security guard came over and collected the kid, went to find his mother, who was elsewhere in the library, and ejected them both. It was a thing of beauty.
A librarian friend of mine says that one of her biggest peeves is parents who think that the library is a free babysitting service.
I volunteer at the local archives, which are attached to a branch of the public library. Just a corner of the one big room, not really closed off. Just recently I confessed to the archivist that I must be a terrible person, because the joyous cries of children make me homicidal. Seriously, there is a community centre right next door that has a children’s program on that morning, and they host a kids’ singalong in the fucking library. If you’re happy and you know it stomp your feet and scream! Yay! Just a hint, none of the adults in the place are stomping their feet.
I think it’s great for little kids to be introduced to the library. It’s not a big reference library or a university library, so there will be noise. But I don’t think it would be a bad thing to teach kids that libraries are for reading, and take them next door to run around.
I’m definitely thankfully for my library. First reason is that I live right behind it now, so I can walk up and browse on my way home from work and it’s so convenient for returning books.
Second, they keep waiving late fees. I forget when things are due and I think I owed them 80 cents last time and they wiped it from the system. Thanks Ladies!
Third, and this is the best, they are part of a very large system called the Old Colony Library Network (everything is Colonial here in Massachusetts) and the system has a great website where you can search the catalog, request museum passes, check your due dates, order inter-library loan items, etc. And they email you when your loan items come in and you ALSO get an email when things are coming due. This makes my life so great. I can think about a book I might want to get out while here at work, then check the online catalog, order it, and in two days pick it up on my way home from work.
And my great state thankfully just axe-ed a proposition to cut the state income tax, which the Library campaigned against. I’m just fine with my tax money going into this library thanks.
I’m grateful for libraries just because they’re there. Books, for free! The one thing that pisses me off about them is that they will not take donations of books. I understand that they probably don’t care to have a thousand romance novels or paperback mystery novels left on their doorsteps, but they won’t even accept recent hardcover bestsellers in very fine condition. I’ve never really gotten an answer as to why not, either.
We live between two small towns with tiny, constantly cash-strapped libraries, and we very often have to purge our own collection of books to make room for new ones. Seems to me it would be sensible for them to take as many free books as they can get their hands on. We should never have let the government get into the library business.
They won’t take donations? That is really odd. I’ve never tried to donate books to my current library but when I lived in Texas they were glad for the donations as long as it wasn’t a big box of crap no one would read.
The Toronto library accepts donations; if they can’t use them, they sell them at their used-book store.
I love the Toronto library. 99 branches; you can order anything in the catalogue and they’ll send it to whichever branch you choose; two major central libraries, one reference only and I found specialized books there going back to the 19th century on earth building; collections in dozens of languages including Esperanto; you can check your account, search the catalogue and order things online; custom research services (which I’ve actually used); notable special collections including SF, Arthur Conan Doyle, municipal politics and history; newspapers from all over; and a growing reputation for architecture of the branch buildings.