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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)

Wilding Tue 26-Nov-13 14:07:46

I love the machines... sorry. Takes two seconds to take out a huge pile of books - you don't even have to scan them or put them down, just wave them in the general direction of the machine and you're done. And I get an email a couple of days before they're due back as a reminder.

remus we have these machines in Edinburgh libraries.

I don't particularly like them but it saves spending hours queuing up at the desk - the librarians, or library assistants, I'm not sure - seem to double up as council advisors and are always sitting in long consultations with people waving letters about housing benefit. It's odd.

Sorry, that should have been directed at ryangoslingspants, not remus.

StingingNettle Tue 26-Nov-13 14:59:51

I work in a library and we have to encourage borrowers to use the machines or scan books through the machines on their behalf. It's how our active usage is recorded - if I issue 10 books through the machine and 10 at the counter, only the 10 at the machine show in our figures. Its bonkers, we are a fairly busy library and only have one machine - so lots of queuing - we are well aware of the customers looking over at us and wondering why the hell we aren't serving them. We need all the book issues we can get - its the figure they base the need for the libary on - if we start issuing at the counter our book issue would fall significantly possibly resulting in reduced hours or worse still closure.
We have to hit a 90% RFID (self-service) target, if we don't we are named and shamed county wide and severly bollocked. I've started explaining this to the customers (- going totally against the company "efficency drive" drivel that we are supposed spout) it's mad and only going to get worse.

cornflakegirl Tue 26-Nov-13 15:16:02

I'm quite happy to use the machines. My sons like them because you can change the backgrounds to space or jungle. They're straightforward to use. The email reminders of return dates and the ability to renew and reserve books on-line are fantastic.

The library staff do loads of stuff that adds value to me, like finding all the books that I've reserved, changing the book displays so that I notice and borrow different books, administering the summer reading scheme. I don't particularly need them to scan books for me. Plus the staff at our library are always happy to help if you have a problem with the machines.

The council has a decreasing budget, and the library has already had its hours reduced. I'd rather the machines than even fewer hours of library opening.

I'd like to still have the personal touch of someone scanning the books, with the chance to get to know the staff and share a love of books, but I know that I can't have everything.

DorisHerod Tue 26-Nov-13 16:03:24

Stinging nettle- that is just so dreadful. What an awful system. I wonder if you work where I live...

Just a thought - it's a lot easier now to check out books about embarrassing medical conditions. Or slightly um, racy novels. :-D Not that I would do such a thing. And especially not on my dc's card so I don't get late fines. :-D

ohmeohmyforgotlogin Tue 26-Nov-13 16:15:49

Not bothered by self serve but am annoyed that our libraries now have hot picks which means every newish, decent book to read is only available one week loan non renewable. Chances of getting it read and returned in that time if I am not on holiday minimal so risk fines so don't borrow. Neither does anyone else as they are all piled high on several tables.

bassetfeet Tue 26-Nov-13 16:31:30

I adored my library when the children were younger . Now I fumble with the self service thingy and look stupid . I like a chat smile

One very stressed year I called in to collect a reserved book after shopping to lug home on foot . The staff greeted me with the option of sherry or orange juice and mince pie ....out their own pockets for those lonely or elderly visiting that day . I have never forgotten how lovely the library was that day for those on their own and facing a long holiday break.

bassetfeet Tue 26-Nov-13 16:33:05

Doh Christmas Eve !

TheRaniOfYawn Tue 26-Nov-13 19:48:01

I like the machines. They are easy for even tiny children to use, I can return very overdue books workout having to get too embarrassed and there are always staff around at the information desk/shelving books/ helping out as well as running the library.

ohmeohmy we have similar to your 'hot picks' where I work. Trick is to pop in, return it and then take it out again. You've effectively renewed it for another week then. Depends how often you can visit of course...

ohmeohmyforgotlogin Tue 26-Nov-13 20:10:22

Thanks for the tip. Thought there might be some way the machine would know that is what you're doing

HumpdayPlus Tue 26-Nov-13 20:19:45

stingingnettle, in your example the 10 books you staff scan out aren't counted, how do they know that you're meeting a 90% target? confused They must be counting the staff-scanned ones, or you would unfailingly have a 100% self-scan rate.

Sounds like someone's telling the staff porkies in order to get you all to comply.

But I'll say again, if you don't like how your local library service is being run, say so. Write to your council, write to your MP, write to your paper. Explain to them why it doesn't work for you.

TabbyM Wed 27-Nov-13 11:59:50

Our central city library (north of the border) has them and there are plans to change branches too. As a fool that did library studies I hate them as they are replacing staff and as a user I find that staff hover to help in a very annoying way as the machines don't always scan. When possible I like to go to a branch to get books stamped out as I always lose the receipts and can't remember due dates. My childhood library had lovely staff who would recommend books and give you a heads up if a favourite author had a new book (pre internet!) but has been rebuilt and now seems very small. The only good thing in recent years is the ability to renew online IMHO. I avoid self pay tills as well!

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