We're taking a bit of a breather while the world rearranges its underpants. Meanwhile, the other blog is here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Hallowe'en, like Walpurgisnacht, brings out the best in our Library Service...

For some time there's been an unwritten rule or folk-policy upstairs in the library to the effect that, no matter how quiet or busy the library is, no customer will be allowed more than an hour on a PC on a Saturday because it's so busy. It would seem that this has now been extended to school holidays, too. A customer has complained that he's been debarred from a few minutes more on the PC he was working on because "somebody else might want to use the PC." He was particularly miffed because eight PCs in the reference library are not in use and haven't been all morning. When Eileen is challenged about this she explains:

"We don't let people have more than an hour on the PCs because it gets too busy and we can't meet demand."

"But if it's as quiet as this, why not let people have a bit more time? When all's said and done, the PCs are there for use, not ornament."

"We can't do that: we've got to be consistent."

Words fail me. One of the hundred-or-so perfomance indicators used by the government to measure the performance of local government is the percentage of available time in which these public PCs are in use. But at least we're applying a secret policy consistently.


The Topiary Cow said...


At Cow's local library, they put reservation software on the public terminals.

After typing in your library bar-code number, the computer assigns you a computer, which gives you an hour. A little clock appears at the top of the screen counting down the time.

BUT if no else needs the computer, as in no one else signing in and requesting a computer, the clock just renews after an hour and gives you another hour. Until either the library closes or somebody else logs in and yours is the only computer left.

Seems a lot more fair.


Kevin Musgrove said...

Ms Cow: the awful truth is that we have that software here and we still muck around like this!