Self service library counters - I hate 'em

(115 Posts)
SinisterBuggyMonth Fri 22-Nov-13 17:09:36

Ok, if I was on my own, pushed for time, then yes, they are useful.

But, trying to return, renew and borrow books for me and my Ds on separate cards, while v active toddler tries to feed coins in/make a break for the door, and then make sure the correct books go on the shelf or bin, it's unecessary stress, it's a fucker.

Meanwhile there are 2 librarians 2 feet away from me doing bugger all having a chat.

(Dons coat)

welovetopsyandtim Fri 22-Nov-13 17:48:08

Yanbu

Arabesque1 Fri 22-Nov-13 17:53:14

I couldn't agree more Doris. A fortune was spent doing up our perfectly nice library and now it is horrible. It's basically been taken over by kids who love being able to tear up and down the length of the building with no one stopping them (including their ignorant parents), and the books are spaced out all over the place giving a really cold half empty vibe to the library. The assistants are at a big desk away from the general library area, or upstairs in glass fronted offices. The whole thing is awful.

SinisterBuggyMonth Fri 22-Nov-13 17:56:33

doris your post is so perfect I am tempted to print it off and frame it.

Doris your local machines sound awful. I'd assumed that all libraries had ones like the ones in Essex - where you just dump the armful of books on the the table in front of the machine and it scans them all together.

DorisHerod Fri 22-Nov-13 18:03:28

Thank you sinister. That's the nicest thing that anyone has said to me today! It makes me so mad I can hardly express it. Good libraries are our children's birthright like health care and education.

Sinister - without question I would have helped. I don't stand around chatting to colleagues because I'm management andlots of them hate me grin.

I always help. And never send anyone to a machine who has asked for assistance.

FrauMoose Fri 22-Nov-13 18:09:03

So what do any people in or around Birmingham think of its new Library? There's already been one comment, I think...

MM - please come and work in Birmingham, so you can keep me away from the evil machines. smile

Birmingham library has a few really amazing bits - the roof top garden, obvs the Shakespeare room, but on the whole I think it's very soulless. And the cafe is astonishingly expensive - £3 for a bit of flapjack stuff!!!

Morebiscuitsplease Fri 22-Nov-13 18:18:26

I felt really sad to read your post. We've had machines in our library for two years. We always offer to help people especially whose with young children. Staff have been reduced (fortunately by natural wastage) but without the machines libraries would close sad They are no substitute for a person, yet it does free us to help people with enquiries of which we have many. We can't be doing a totally bad job as one gent today said we were the best library he visits. I know much of my time is spent finding books for people, helping mums find books for their children and organising children's activities as we'll as essential admin such as putting books away!!! Talk to your librarian, join the users committee....write to head of service. They need to know how you feel.

carlajean Fri 22-Nov-13 18:20:44

Our's stacks books face forwardforward. So annoying.

HearMyRoar Fri 22-Nov-13 18:31:57

Doris your post is eerily familiar but like it is written from a different dimension. I genuinely think we could be talking about the same library. My local was redone with all the things you describe but I think it is super.

Because the staff are not stuck behind a desk all day scanning books they can be around the library available to help out and offer assistance when you need it.

Our machines only scan one book at a time but they have a little table on one side and a book trolley on the other so you dump your pile on the table. Wizz them through the scanner and then pop them on the trolley.

They have a shop of tat but some of it is ok , I got dd a little shopping bag for a couple of quid she adores, and they have some nice cards. Generally I just walk past it. There is also a pretty good cafe that does a reasonable coffee and cake and the nice lady who works there even remembers dd's name.

I am a long time lover of libraries and spent much of my childhood hanging out in the local one where I grew up. It was a lovely place, happy to put up with a small child wandering around for hours choosing age inappropriate books and probably causing a bother. I even have one of their book shelves in my livingroom. I love books but I can also appreciate the other things my library does. It does loads of stuff for kids, gigs, events, courses, film nights. I think its great.

DorisHerod Fri 22-Nov-13 18:37:06

Ours has no cafe. And no film nights or events, and certainly not lots of stuff for kids sadly....

FreeWee Fri 22-Nov-13 18:38:16

I'm afraid I love them. I think they're so quick and clever particularly returning them. But then I just borrow on DDs card so no faffing. Also our cards have a barcode to scan which takes no time.

FreeWee Fri 22-Nov-13 18:41:39

Ours have a big flat square hole where you scan your card then put all your books in at once. The names pop up one by one on the screen then you can ask for a receipt or not. Then to return you don't even need your card. Place all in at once then bung them on the left or right cart depending on the arrow. Dead easy! Love it!

cannotfuckingbelievethis Fri 22-Nov-13 18:43:44

Are these only in England ? Not seen or heard of them North of the Border....Would be sorry to see any of the library staff I've met be replaced. They're all very helpful and cheery.

ExcuseTypos Fri 22-Nov-13 18:46:00

I volunteer in a library. We help people all the time with the machines. They only have to ask and often we will ask people if they are ok, if they look a bit bewildered.

I've also never seen a paid librarian refusing to help anyone. I think you should tell management if they are being so unhelpful OP. it's their job to help you!

lottiegarbanzo Fri 22-Nov-13 18:50:05

Hmm, yes, toddler is not sensible enough to scan her own books (does try) but is big enough to open the automatic doors to outside.

Last week I held on to her ankle as she lay on the floor wriggling (or was that struggling?) while I scanned and bagged her books.

Rooble Fri 22-Nov-13 18:54:30

We've got them - I quite liked them as they freed up the librarians' time for proper enquiries, help choosing books etc.
But now the council (having spent a load of money installing the machines) has no money to run the library, so is closing it down.

(I don't blame the Council, but the bloody Government).

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Fri 22-Nov-13 20:25:24

RemusLupin Birmingham City Library is possibly the ugliest building in the Universe (or is that Selfridges at the Bullring?).

Hideous lighting, too much empty space, too few apparent books. And who honestly thought that a massive rank of Haynes Manuals was the first thing anyone wanted to see at the top of the first escalator?

I won't use the machines or the supermarket ones either. Just my little personal campaign to keep human interaction alive and well.

Lilymaid Fri 22-Nov-13 20:30:13

We have self service in our village library. When the cuts came there was no money to pay for a part time assistant but capital was available to purchase the self service machines. Poor old people who use the library and for whom a chat with the assistant was a highlight of their day.

Middle - exactly. Whole areas in which there is nothing whatsoever to indicate that it's a library. I was really disappointed - although it did have a v good selection of History books, so I'll give it that.

Marrow Fri 22-Nov-13 20:33:59

YANBU. I have stopped using our library since they got the self service machine. I had more fines in a few months than I have ever had in total before. I got fed up of the machines not scanning accurately.

I rant about the machines in Sainsbo's too and only use them if a worker does it for me, which completely defeats the object of the machines.

Rage, rage against, etc.

Bowlersarm Fri 22-Nov-13 20:39:43

I love the new system. So much easier.

DiscoBiscuits Fri 22-Nov-13 21:00:02

I work in libraries and I don't like the self serve machines. I see that they help free up some time but in reality talking to people is a huge part of my job. I work more in community libraries and a chat with us may be the first social interaction that person has had all day. We know our community and can pick up on stuff that isn't quite right (Some staff members once managed to alert the police to one of our elderly and confused members being groomed by a known sex offender from a local bail hostel and save her from being his next victim). We don't and should't just scan books but not scanning books may mean we don't get the chance to properly interact with our members and our community at large.
We seem to have so many policies in place that are not fully thought through. It makes me very frustrated
And I would never refuse to help anyone that asked for help. Ever.

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