Saturday, January 26, 2008


Seriously, we have a VERY PRETTY new library. I desperately want to like it but everytime I go in, there is another problem and it makes it hard for me to appreciate it. My orignal complaint, before it even opened, was the book drop being a pain. It is automated and you have to put things on the belt one at a time and if anyone on the other side (inside if you are out and outside if you are in) is using that belt, your belt stops for up to several seconds. I thought make this was a small kink in the system but it appears to be a perpetual problem, although I'm the only one that seems to have a real problem with it (possibly that is my type A++ personality that can't stand to wait for anything but whatever). Other people notice it but I'm the only that it makes want to scream and throw my stuff at the damn slot before stomping off in a huff. When I'm outside, I just put all my stuff on the belt at once and forget about it. Inside, I let the kids load the belt and they operate at about the speed of the belt so it is all ok.

My next problem is the parking issue. Parking as been a joke since they started construction on the new building. The parking lot is too small, the drive is too narrow and no one can seem to figure out that the parking lot is one way in a counter clockwise pattern. To compound that problem, now you have to park in this awful lot and walk all the way around where the old building used to be. When it is 70 and sunny or I'm by myself, it wouldn't be the end of the world. When I'm dragging 2 kids along and it is 13 degrees or raining, it is a huge PITA. Add to the fact that the corridor between the new building and place the old building was is the worlds fastest wind tunnel, I almost don't like going to the library anymore because it so difficult. I've been parking across the street in the scrapbook store lot because it is a little closer, but then I have to cross the street with 2 kids so it is far from an ideal option.

My dad has decided to go to the other library because he objects to the idea of self checkout. I'm seriously considering following in his footsteps because I object to the reality of the self check out. Typically, I don't mind it. At most places, I actually prefer it. Not so at the library. The scanners don't work half the time and even when the do, a lot of the books aren't tagged to be read by it. Why do we need those pad scanner things anyway? Why can't we have the mounted barcode scanners like they used to use at the old building? We can figure them out at grocery store, what makes them think that library patrons can't figure them out. No, they give us these janky pads and books that aren't tagged so not only do you have to wait in line to USE the self check out, then you have to wait in line AGAIN to see a librarian to check out half o your books. I fully understand the people that refuse to use the self check out and I think I'm going to become one of them. Unfortunately, they have like 1 person working the counter at any given time trying to check out all the people that won't use the self check and helping all the people brave (or dumb) enough to try.

My final complaint deals with the automatic check in again. When things are put in the drop box, they are automatically checked in. When things are checked in and you have it on hold, a notice is automatically generated telling you your item is in. It matters not that your item is actually sitting in a hold bin somewhere waiting to be tagged with your name and card number (another thing I don't like. Put my name on, don't make me rifle through everyone's stuff looking for mine because I can't remember the last four digits of my card unless I'm sitting at the computer and then I don't really remember it, I just know the keystroke sequence). They've gone from a 7 day hold to a 3 day hold (yet another complaint of mine, although I understand that it is because the hold room is tiny, yet another problem, you build a whoel new building and you can't make a hold room big enough to hold all the holds, and they can't keep everyone's junk for a week at a time) and when you book scans in, it starts your hold time. Nevermind the fact that it could be 2 days before your hold actually makes it to the shelf. So I get my email, I deal with the bad parking to go get it, only to find out it is no where to be found and I have make another trip a day or so later and deal with the hassle of getting there all over again. I'm going to start being a PITA. When I get my email, I'm going to call and have someone confirm that my holds are on the shelf before I go in.

All of this automation is supposed to make less work for the library staff and makes things easier for patrons. What has actually happened it has probably doubled the work for the staff because they are running all over looking for stuff that isn't where it is supposed to be and fixing the self check outs all the time. And it has made the library completely user UNfriendly and down right unpleasant for the people forced to deal with it. I completely freaked today while trying to use the self check out. I slammed the CD on the pad, snarled at the computer and yelled at my mother (who was with me) that I "would most certainly not calm down. This was the biggest piece of crap that I had ever been forced to endure and I was freaking done" Then she suggested that maybe I should go to the other library for awhile and responded loudly, right in front of the children's librians desk that "I fully intend to use Urbana exclusively because Champaign was like a supermodel, pretty but completely freaking useless besides that"

I just want this stuff fixed. I LOVE the library. After all, where else can I get my minions? I love all the stuff it has to offer, I really like the new building and it has so much potential, and the children's department is super. I HATE that I'm having such issues with a place that should be so much better than this. However, I do think that for the time being I will be using Urbana. I'll have to be strong and refuse the coffee (Lizzie calls them "the coffee library" and "the regular library", I haven't mentioned they will both be coffee libraries eventually) and I'll have to get over my objection to paying for parking but that is a minor annoyance compared to all the issues I have with Champaign right now. Maybe, in a couple of months they will have some of the kinks worked out and I can go back to enjoying the library again. :(


Leeanthro said...

Only 3 day holds now? How horrible. With 2 kids and both parents working, it's hard to get there. And I hate to go when I have just one or two things waiting for me, I like to wait until there's a stack.

And I'll say it over and over, I wish they had enclosed the children's area so that my older child doesn't escape (the younger one is only crawling).

Mom said...

Yes, that too. Although my kids are pretty good about staying put. Lizzie wants to roam the stacks but generally stays with the kid books. C has developed an obsession with the "leveled readers" in levels way too high for him so tend to want to look at those but is pretty content with a wander through on the way in or out. :)

Ros said...

All your complaints sound perfectly reasonable to me, including the slow belt. But then I'm an impatient bitch. My local library recently was renovated too, but I guess they had better planners than yours did. They bar-coded most of the books before starting self-scan . . . and the toddler area is in a corner, enclosed by glass walls. How cool is that? Soundproofed but completely visible . . .sounds like your planners need some more training.

VeganLinda said...

Amen, amen, amen! Carrie I posted many of the same issues/complaints on the list which shall remain nameless. I am not impressed...I'm not. I want to be and I'm not. It is an improvement, but we spent a ton o' money on it and so far all I can say is they seem to really care about the environment (except when it comes to everything in the world being automated there). I love the Urbana library and I know the Champaign is not supposed to be the Urbana, but couldn't they at least look at some of what works well just a few miles away? Okay, now I'm going to rant and this is your blog so I'm stopping. I'm with ya sista.

Jenna said...

Yesterday when we walked in and had two totes of books to return...first, we set off the alarms b/c we were standing in the sensors (where else are you supposed to stand) and then created an impatient line of patrons waiting to return their books while my littles on put all the books in the slot.

They should have moved the indoor bookdrop away from the door and had two.

My problem is that my 4yo won't use the toilets there b/c they automatically flush...he's worried about getting flushed. We had to make a fast exit last week at one point.

And I too wish the holds had our names on them again. It takes longer to find yours.

But I do like it there.