Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Library Comic Episode 2: The Library aka Public Tech Support.

With Christmas, excuse me -- the holidays, around the corner, I am bracing myself for the onslaught of newly acquired e-reader induced questions at the info desk.  Last year, the Kindle won the question competition, it wasn't even a fair fight.  My bet this season, the questions will be more varied among tablet/e-reader manufacturers.

The download process has not changed since last year, but I do know that some of my info coworkers are not the most tech savvy and still struggle when it comes to these reference queries.  They also like to hit my extension and call me out from the backroom to help them out so I have to mentally prepare myself.  If you thought some older librarians were hardcore Luddites, some of these patrons that come in make them look like Steve Wozniak.

There are certain times when fielding particular tech questions from patrons can be difficult.  Patrons have asked me for my personal recommendation on everything from doctors, printers, tablets, cell-phones, and automotive body shops.  Don't worry, I stick to "The Librarian Code" and remain unbiased.  Although some patrons don't get the hint when I tell that even though that "e-reader/tablet" they found at their local pharmacy bargain bin while waiting for their prescription fill, might seem like a great deal.  They'll end up paying more in the long run when their tablet fails in a couple of months.  I always tell them to go to a store and play around with all of the tablets to see which one they like best.

The library system I work at also has a no touching policy, which means hands off the patron's electronics you dirty, dirty minded people.  The system doesn't want to be in any way liable for any damage to patron's stuff.  It can get pretty frustrating when patrons can't quite maneuver their touch-pads and you're standing right next to them telling what to click on in order to log in to the library's WiFi or walk them through the whole e-book download process.  If it is this hard assisting patrons who are physically in the library, imagine what it's like trying to help patrons over the phone.  Remote desktop access must relieve stress in IT departments, they can see and control what the end-user sees instead of running down the script of questions, "Is it turned on? Is it plugged in?  Is the power on?  Did you try turning it off and on?"


  1. I'm one of those "older" librarians and worked on computers most likely before you were born. You might want to re-examine your "ageist" viewpoints. We're not all Luddites ;)

    1. Hey Anon,
      I can see how my typical snarkiness and smart-ass-ness could come across as me saying that "my info coworkers are not the most tech savvy" as a generalization it across all of librarianship, but I was just talking in regards to my branch. I would never make such a controversial sweeping assumption like that of librarians or the field :p

      On a related note, is it just my system or do the Luddite librarians tend to be the ones who get promoted to management positions??