Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Miss Information is annoyed by the illogical

It is Christmas and Miss Information knows that with all the grimness and sadness of the past week everyone should make an effort to be kind and to hold off on the petty complaints. Well, fuck that.

The library system recently introduced a fine that is charged to people who don't pick up their holds. This afternoon, Miss Information encountered a gentleman who had been charged one of these fines because he needed to pick up his book by December 17 and failed to do so. Miss Information told the gentleman that the circulation desk could probably waive the fine because they have been doing that for first offenses.

The gentleman protested! He should not have a fine. He requested the book. It came in. He picked it up but thought that it was the wrong book and gave it back. Then he went home and discovered it was the right book and put another hold on it. So you see, he did, in fact, pick up the book on time.

Um. No. He was supposed to have picked up this copy of the book by last night and didn't so he had been charged a fine. The man insisted that the first time he picked up the book should count as picking up the book on time. Except it doesn't. The process the man describes is the equivalent of two holds, not one. Picking up and cancelling the first hold has no bearing on anything.

The man insisted that Miss Information is wrong. The library had screwed up! It was their fault! He should not have a fine because he picked up the book on time! Except that he didn't, Miss Information explained. Two holds, two pick up dates, two chances to be fined for not picking up the book. At this point Miss Information recognized that the conversation would go on like this forever. As much as she wanted to make him see reason, she sent him to the circulation desk to share his screwed up logic with the staff there.


At 9:26 PM, Blogger Joseph Finn said...

But he never checked out the book, so there should not be a fine. Good luck with that hold fine, library.

At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Cam Juniper said...

@Joseph Finn - I've seen failure to pick up hold fines work really successfully in libraries. They're a great way to not only generate a little more revenue for a burdened organization, but also (and perhaps more importantly) a motivation to get people to actually pick up the things they order instead of wasting the time, energy & money of two libraries and whatever system they use to ship items between themselves.

Miss Information, I sympathize--empahthize--with you. Some patrons need a strong dose of logic & reality. Alas, I've yet to find a way to administer those . . . .

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joseph Finn, also in need of a refresher in basic logic.

At 5:06 PM, Blogger brzeski said...

I would happily pay a fine for holds I don't pick up on time. I always feel really guilty if for some reason I miss the date. It would be a good motivator to get there (for chronic non-picker-uppers) and a good way to contribute toward resources spent (for the occasional missers like me).

At 3:53 PM, Blogger Goobia said...

The University Libraries in Toronto, so far,have not imposed that fine for holds not picked up on time. However they copied TPL by making the holds system so easy that everystudent places a million holds and promptly forgets about them!! I do holds in my Library and I saw this coming! I can't wait for the Universities to impose that $0.50 fine for not picking up holds!


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