Thursday, August 6, 2009

P.A.T.R.O.N. Act

Providing Access To Reserved Objects Neatly

Things rarely ever change at most libraries. This includes procedures and shelving locations. That's just the way it is; if something works, why bother forming a committee to look into the matter and develop a new system.
So when our branch manager mentioned switching to self pick up of holds 8 months ago, I can admit I had my reservations. At the time the holds were behind the Circ desk and patrons would have to wait for us to find or not find their reserved materials.
I remember when I was working at another library when I brought a hold for patron and she stated that at her hometown library their holds are self pick up. I said something to the effect of privacy issues and I was completely unbiased when I stated it. She instantly got all worked up and said that at her work, she's a nurse, that when you're dying it doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, black or white, female or male, you're dying the same way and that people are too uptight about it. Well, how am I supposed to reply to that???
I have also heard that the library was threatened with a lawsuit because apparently one woman's husband said he was picking up her holds for her and the books turned out to be about 'Divorce' and it turned into a big mess.

Self Pick Up took some getting used to and there are still some kinks to it. Sometimes you will see some patrons browsing the holds shelf and you have to walk around the Circ desk and tell them that these are being held for someone. And for some reason people assume the books are already checked out to their account, I can only guess because they see a slip of paper with their name on it and they think its their check out print out. We've had to chase after a few people who have walked in, grabbed their holds, and walk right out. And those are the few we've been attentive enough to catch.

We have only had one problem with patron's holds, apparently she's tried to pick up a hold a couple of times but each time her holds aren't there. Yeah, it could be an error on our side but we've had volunteers who work on the holds say that they remember placing this lady's holds on the shelf. Someone has a grudge against her apparently and that's bound to happen when you can't keep an eye on the holds the whole time.

Overall, it is a blessing since the number of people working the Circ desk at any given moment is reduced.
The Circ desk is quickly becoming more automated. With all the problems of patrons returns not being checked in properly, I'm just waiting for the day when patrons will be able to check in their own returns. Heck, why stop there, might as well let them reshelve it too

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