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Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Libraries

I've made no secret of my dislike of my current local library. I love my home and I love my neighborhood (even the annoying barking dogs aren't that bad). The one negative that can't be painted or replaced or remodeled is my closest library.

I tried. I looked for houses closer to the Lake Oswego area & library but couldn't find one I liked or could afford. And I still frequent the LO library but now that it is a 20 mile round trip--I can't do it more than twice a month. Even the book-drops are a 10 mile round trip so I had to stop getting DVDs that had to be returned more frequently.

I get DVDs from the Tualatin library but I'm not happy with 1) the selection or 2) the excessive overdue fines. Yes, I can avoid the fines by getting DVDs back timely but sooner or later I will slip up and then it is $1 a day. I also don't like the Tualatin library's online catalog. The LO one is much easier to use and keeps me up-to-date on new arrivals. Tualatin sadly doesn't.

I went today to pick up my reserve--the whole first season of Farscape (thanks, again, Bill!) to finish watching all the shows. I tried to watch them all when I got the DVD last time but I just couldn't watch them all in the 7 days I had the set. No problem, take it back and reserve it again. I did that. When I went today to pick it up, I found they had only given me the first 2 discs of the set--which I'd already watched.

I assumed I didn't pick the right set and went to one of the terminals in the library to check and reserve the right set and toss my hold in the "don't want" bin. Tualatin has a barcode reader which is really nice and saves time typing all the numbers on the library card--I will give them that. I found the set and tried to put a request on it and it asked for my login. What?? I just logged in!! I tried again--same thing.

In frustration, I took my hold to the help desk and talked to the librarian. She was extremely nice and explained "for my protection" the terminals log you out as soon as you move from your account to a search. Even she agreed it is annoying. I'm all for security--I live with it and demand it at work all day but some things are just a little TOO intense about my security. Logging me out after a minute of inactivity--ok. Logging me out every time I change a screen on the computer--excessive! Another mark against the library.

We checked the title. While the Tualatin branch keeps all six discs in the set and checks out all six at once, the other branch with copies checks them out 2 discs at a time. Again...for my benefit...assuming I cannot watch all six CDs in a 7-day checkout. Ok, I'll admit it is hard--I'm proof it is nearly impossible unless you do a marathon of shows but I know how this separation thing works.

They separate the discs but they do not separate them effectively. You check out Disc 1& 2 and 3&4 and when you go back to determine which set to renew or the return date--you can't tell which one is which--they lump them together under the one name "Farscape - Complete First Season". Even if you manage to avoid that problem--you cannot request 1&2, 3&4, 5&6 at the same time. If you do, you get 5&6 before you get 1&2. Or you get 1&2 and 5&6 but have to wait for 3&4. It's maddening.

The librarian agreed with me that while in theory it is a way to give me the number of discs I can manage well in 7 days, in practice it doesn't work. I can't watch 3 or 4 discs if I have time--because I can't get them in order that way. But I can only get 2 discs at a time even if I have the time to watch because I can't get the right set of two in order to get 4 the same week. Very frustrating.

The librarian told me that she is the one in charge of DVDs--particularly TV Series for the Tualatin branch and she told the library flatly "we will not break up sets!!" She also showed me a trick when using the online catalog. If I select the Tualatin set to insure a complete set and I click on this little red book icon beside the item, it will give me 3 weeks instead of 1 week checkout. One of those hidden tricks. She told me she feels these things should be shared so people can make the most of their library experience.

I left the library with a whole new attitude. I still may not like this library as much as my old one and I may not like most of the librarians in the Tualatin branch (not sure since you do everything self-service there and rarely interact with a person) but I'm impressed with this lady/librarian who I met today. She makes me want to take her a bag of DBCC cookies--something I didn't think I'd ever feel the urge to do for this library.

Amazing how one person can change your experience.


Tags:  librarians
4 Comments
billpearch
Wow! Maybe I should just loan you my complete series of Farscape discs.
Bill Pearch   Saturday, August 28, 2010
reera
Sometimes it just takes awhile to make all the transitions involved in moving. You are such a great supporter of the library system, I am glad that it is working out for you.
dannie   Sunday, August 29, 2010
girlcarew
I've had some frustration with my local library (LO = Live Oak for me), but not nearly as much as you. Hopefully that librarian will be of assistance in the future as well.
girlcarew   Wednesday, September 1, 2010
lgrant
At least I have the luxury of choosing from many libraries and at least 3 counties in my area. Maybe LO (Lake Oswego) just spoiled me with their personal attention and perhaps bigger library budget to have a better selection, better online catalog and better fine system.
LGrant   Wednesday, September 1, 2010
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