Thursday, April 23, 2009

Library Snafu

A few days ago I went to the library looking for the last 2 books in the Twilight series. Being popular books, they were already checked out so I put them on hold. A few days later I get an automated call from the library that both books are in. Usually it costs .50 per hold but if you go in right away and do the self check-out they don't charge you. Less work for them I guess.

So there the two books were with a white paper with my name on it rubberbanded around them like a sleeve. I took off the wrapper to make sure it was the right titles, then I grabbed some other books, and headed to the self check-out monitor.

I did the other books first, which went through just fine. So I put up the first hold book and the screen says, "Too many objects on the console, please remove and re-scan." So I did. This time the screen came up telling me to have the librarian check it out.

I tried the other book. Same deal.

So I waited until the librarian was free. She was young as librarians go. She takes my card and the books and tries to check them out. Then she tells me they are not on hold for me, and I have no holds on my account, and she personally put one of those books over on the hold shelf for someone else and did I have another person in my family with a different card that the hold was on.
Then when I said no, both by words and by facial expressions she implied I was lying about the whole thing. I could see this was getting nowhere. And that if I wanted the books, I had to go put a new hold on them and wait my turn.

Now I can understand library snafus and problems with computers. What I can't tolerate is when someone screws up and then their staff tries to make me out to be the villain. So I ask to see her supervisor. On the way I take the paper out of the trash that had my name on it to prove the books were indeed on hold with my name.

The supervisor is a young man and he in at another section of the library. So he goes over to the back counter, picks up the books she took away from me and goes to check them out for me. She jumps in and tells him I can't have them.

Non-plussed, he tells me he is going to take them to the back room and research the history of the holds and try to figure out what is going on. Meanwhile I'm standing at the counter where Ms. Snooty is helping others and glaring at me in spare moments.

Eventually the supervisor does give me the books. What he thinks happened is that the first time I scanned them, it checked them out to me, and when the error message told me to scan again, the machine checked the books back in, and the automated system erased my hold and notified the next person in line that their book was in. He said it was some kind of a glitch they'd have to look into.

Why on earth the first librarian would jump to the conclusion that I was trying to 'steal' the books placed on hold for another person is beyond me. Think of the logic of it? How would I know the books were even in if someone hadn't told me? Or if one book was for me, why would I look for the second book, remove the hold sleeve, and put it in the sleeve with my other book? She did go check the shelf and found both the name that she thought she's reserved it for under another person's label, and also one of the Twilight books under someone else's name. What a mess.
What really miffs me is she never apologized.

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