Saturday, May 21, 2011

Miss Information holds out hope for less annoying patrons

Miss Information is sick of people who can't figure out the holds system. It's not alchemy.
1. Place a hold.
2. wait.
3. When the library contacts you that the item is available come in and pick it up.
See how easy?

There are a few subtleties that patrons find difficult. First is the waiting part. Some clients place a hold and then hot-foot it to the library expecting the book to be there waiting for them. Nope. It usually takes a couple of days--sometimes much longer. Be patient. We'll contact you.

Of course picking up the item is a whole new problem. The library files holds by the last four numbers on the card. Some people have difficulty figuring what the four numbers are. Miss Information is no mathematician but even she can go to the end of a long number and count back four spaces. It's amazing how many people start with the 5th number or the 3rd number. Sometimes they use their phone number. Sometimes they use random numbers in their heads.

Then there's the actual finding of the number on the shelf. They go numerically. It's not that hard. Miss Information has lost track of how many people can't find their hold because "it's usually on a different shelf". Um, yeah but counting was perfected a billion years ago. You just have to locate your number in sequence. It isn't hard, people.

Yet it happens constantly. Miss Information puts on a happy grimace and accompanies the patron to the shelf to demonstrate her awesome numerical order skills. Most people are suitably impressed.

Recently a young and cranky woman came to the desk to complain that her hold was missing. Miss Information, as always, offered to help look, you know because the holds might be mixed up or some reassuring hoo-hah.

The patron became downright hostile. She had just told Miss Information that her book wasn't on the shelf. She checked all over and it wasn't there. Did Miss Information think she was stupid?

Miss Information reset the hold and assured Little Miss Cranky that she would get another call from the library soon. She then waved a cheery goodbye to Bad Attitude Betty and quick as a flash went over to the holds shelf where Grumpy Gertrude's book was right there, filed in the correct order and everything.

Know what, girlie? Miss Information didn't think you were stupid...before. However it is kind of dumb to not let Miss Information and her superior book tracking skills help you look for your book while you're still in the library. Still, Miss Information isn't losing any sleep about Testy Tilly having to make a second trip to the library. Serves her right for being so dickish.


At 2:06 PM, Blogger Megan said...

I just had almost the exact thing happen today. I feel your pain. :)

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just ONCE when someone says "Do you think I'm stupid?", I would like to gently touch them on the arm and say "Yes, yes I do."

At 1:40 AM, Anonymous Soos said...

You let patrons retrieve their own holds? Therein lies your mistake...

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Rosie H said...

The library I worked in shelved the holds alphabetically by the patrons' surname ... and some of them still couldn't work it out!

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Rachael said...

The library system I belong to keeps holds squirreled away in the back so the patrons, even those who are quite capable of finding their own name alphabetically, have to hand over their card and wait while the very-very-old-lady wanders off to try to find the correct book. Also irritating.

At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Laura said...

Thought you'd like to know, you've got some love for Miss Information from, a site associated with Wired. Here's the link


Post a Comment

<< Home