Thursday, 25 September 2014

The library reopened yesterday

- after being closed for a week.
It was closed while they made some small alterations to the building and put in the self-service checkouts. 
Yes, self-service in the library these days. You have to return your books via the computer screen rather than down the chute. You touch the screen, scan the book (and make sure it appears on the screen) and wait until it provides an arrow to a trolley. You have to make sure you put them on the right trolley.
Borrowing books is now a similar process.
Oh yes, you can now go in and out of the library without speaking to anyone. It's all in the name of "efficiency". It will "save money". Staff hours are being cut back.
And yes, Cat will help those people who find the process confusing won't she?
I will because I want people to be able to read - but I don't like it.
Libraries are about books and all the other things that can be borrowed from libraries. I know that. But...but libraries are also about people.
Our local library is the hub of the community. It was crowded yesterday. Yes, part of that was the result of the library not being open for a week but it also had something to do with the fact that the library is often busy. It is used. It is used in all sorts of ways. People meet there. They work there. The students gather there to study in small groups. People use the computers. They borrow books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, the electronic marking kits and so on. There are meetings held there. Last month there was a class on cheese-making.
And some people go in and out just to be able to say "hello" to someone.
I wonder what will happen now. Will the library be a less friendly place? Will the staff have more time to guide the readers?
I don't envy the staff the next few weeks as they try to guide people through the new system.
And I want our library to go on being the hub of the community. Please?

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