Monday, September 3, 2012

Modern Library

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Hello, I’m your New Librarian. I’m sorry, you seem to be having some trouble with your PIN code. You need to talk to one of my colleagues.

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Colleague?

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Keep looking…

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Yes, We are Modern Librarians too. We’ll take your books, if you want to return them. We can read bar codes. Oh. You haven’t borrowed the books yet? Then you’d better hold on to them… What you need is someone who speaks PIN!

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Hello. No, I’m afraid I don’t speak PIN…

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Well, finally I found a more human-looking kind of librarian behind a desk. I nervously confessed I couldn’t get the machine to register my loan, and she looked at me as if I had dropped in from another planet - and asked if I had a PIN code.

Yes, said I. I do have a PIN code and I use it all the time at home on the internet. But I couldn’t get that machine over there to accept it…

So the human Librarian walked over to the machine with me. And of course after just a stern look from her, the machine accepted my PIN code without protest; and the bar codes on the books as well.

There are few things that makes one feel as stupid as machines who like to play tricks with newbies but then pretend to be perfectly innocent when their Master (or Mistress) show up.

I still haven’t dared try to personally feed that huge green book-eating monster, by the way.

The reason why I still feel a bit lost at the “new” library (renovated and modernized last year) is that usually I do most of my borrowing and returning via the small branch library close to where I live; where they still have personal service behind the desk. I can also access the library catalogue at home on the internet, and order books to be sent to the branch library and pick them up there. So the only times I “need” to go to the big library is if I want to browse IRL and get a closer look at books before borrowing them.

14 comments:

  1. Glad you got sorted. It looks very smart...smarter than I am that's for sure.

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    1. Adrian, you'll probably soon be able to build one of those yourself, after practising on that whatsitsnameagain that you've been playing with lately...

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  2. Aaarrgghh! I hate the idea of that happening to our library but they are going to do it in the very near future. So my brief but merry chat with the person behinbd the counter will disappear. And so will some of the people behind the counter - financial savings - and the ones that are there will be 'area service advisers' not librarians. i.e, they will be there to tell you about bin collection etc and won't know one end of a book from another. As an ex-librarian I am in tears over it all...

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    1. I know what you mean, and that's one reason why I prefer my small neighbourhood library - and try to contribute to keeping their statistics up so that they won't be closed down!

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  3. Hello:
    Somehow it seems rather out of keeping that a library should be quite so impersonal. Yes, we are totally in favour of the use of modern technology but, as in this case, we do wonder how much older readers will fare with the new system.

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    1. Luckily we still have a number of smaller branch libraries around town, which still provide more personal service, and I suspect that older readers, like me, prefer to use those.

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  4. As a trained Librarian myself, I can only say that I'd very much regret the lack of personal contact with the readers if I were still working at a library but most of the actual checking out and in of media would be done by machines.
    Of course it is convenient when they offer such services at hours when the staff are not at work but readers still want to check in and out, but it seems to me that a huge part of a library's appeal gets lost along with the human touch.

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    1. I agree. I'm thinking it can't be much fun for the librarians either even if I suppose the machines also spare them some heavy and repetitive lifting etc.

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  5. this was a lot of fun for me, but I know the feeling you are describing. that used to happen to me. at work we had a HELP desk if we had problems with our computers. we would dial the letters HELP and they answered and i would tell them my problem. like yours, something should work but did not. one of the HELP would come down sit at my desk do exactly what i had done and it would work.
    i love the look of your library and i am now hoping ours does not go to the big machines that require a pin. so far all ours have people there. i do use my pin to order online and pick up the books if it is a book i really want to read. but i like browsing the books and reading the first couple of pages before i check it out. and now here in the states the downloadable books are taking over. so far i don't have an android anything that will accept them. i can get them downloaded to my computer but i don't want to sit and read in my computer.

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    1. I'll probably end up buying a Kindle one of these days but I hope there will still be printed books around as well. My guess is there probably will be, at least during our lifetime.

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  6. Just another reason I have a Kindle. But I do love libraries and hope that librarians will not be replaced by machines.

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  7. I entirely agree. I don't find our library a friendly place to be any more, even though to be frank many of the librarians weren't particularly friendly. But it makes a surprising difference, even though perhaps it shouldn't.

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  8. We still have the personal small libraries here on the island, and I'm hoping that they will be around for some time.
    I like chatting with someone and getting their opinion and help if needed. Even the librarians at university were extremely helpful and knowledgeable, and they will always hold a special place in my heart.
    I guess the new machines will be invaluable in large libraries, and for those folks who are always in a rush.
    I do believe that one day all this technology is going to turn around and bite us in the a$$.

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  9. I hardly ever use the library on Lewis although I do in New Zealand. One of the defining moments in my life in New Zealand was getting my driver licence and taking it to the library as proof of residency and changing my temporary ticket for a permanent one.

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