Yanbu - I hate them too. And I hate the fact that a librarian who is standing around refuses to serve me and makes me go to the machine instead. Do they not realise that the machines will be justification for getting rid of librarians soon enough? Grrrrrr.
I once overheard one librarian saying to another - "Nobody realises how stressful our job is. Sometimes we have to serve a customer and show somebody how to use the internet, at the same time." I was tempted to invite her to come and see bottom group Yr 8 on a Friday afternoon, if she wanted to know about stress. Grrrr again.
I feel your pain. (Full disclosure) I'm in charge of these in a Uni library so not usually one where people bring kids in. As a public library user myself I'm not keen. I avoid the shop ones too as standing daydreaming in a queue and having someone ring in my goods is often the only bit of down-time I get all day!
And I hate the fact that I walked up seven flights of stairs in the new Birmingham library, nearly collapsing from light headedness - and there were corridors and corridors without a single book, or book poster, or anything at all to do with reading. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Remus, it IS more of a stressful job than people think, although that library staff member's example doesn't sound very stressful! I think some people get jobs in libraries thinking it will be quiet and you can read the books. Not these days. They get a rude awakening!
I hate them. Our lovely cosy local library with nice friendly staff is now an impersonal warehouse with kids tearing around and machines checking your books in and out and hardly a staff member to be seen. I never go there anymore. It just depresses me. Libraries used to be a big part of the community, especially for elderly people who often used to know the library staff by name and would get books recommended to them or sit and relax and have a free read of the paper. Nowadays, if you want a seat they're all occupied with sprawling kids and teenagers texting or playing games on their ipads and the noise from the smaller children is unbelievable. It's more like a play area than a library.
I am a librarian. My job is outrageously stressful. I do the work of four full-timers in three days a week. The librarians have an easy life brigade can go away.
Anyway, back to the OP. In some libraries, self-issue has been found to free up time for other work, such as service development, maintaining stock, more time for shelving to allow you to access material.
But libraries shouldn't be just about checking in and out books. You often hear adults saying that when they were younger they were introduced to such and such a writer by the local librarian and, as I said,older people often really enjoy a friendly chat with the library staff. I hate to see libraries being turned into cold impersonal spaces with little or no social interaction.
If you feel that the self-checkout desks are hard to handle, especially with a child, then just ask at the main desk. I'm sure they will be happy to help. Our library staff are lovely and many of them are volunteers.
I love them! But then my two are older (6,8) so enjoy putting their own books through the scanner and pressing the buttons on the screen. Plus it allows me to be unsociable, which I quite like sometimes!
Soon, no one will ever have to talk to another human being. We withdraw our cash from our accounts by machine, swipe our own groceries, check in and out our own library books. No doubt they'll invent a machine soon that will allow us to do our own dental work and diagnose our own illnesses so doctors and dentists don't have to waste their time dealing with actual patients.
Yes I hate them too. Our local library was closed for 3 months for a refurbishment. Ha ha. It reopened with a garish paint job, half the number of books, and these horrible machines. The machines hardly work and the older folk or people with young children are stumped because you can't put all the book on the counter at once or the machine gets confused. You have to hold the pile in your arms well away from the machine whilst scanning one book at a time. And about half the books haven't yet been barcoded so they don't scan and you have to queue up anyway to see the library assistant (no qualified librarians anymore), who also has to man the tourist information point.
All the books in the main area are displayed a la waterstones...big tables of pot boilers all of the shopping and shagging kind.
Behind it is a big display of keep calm and read books type tat that is for sale. Book marks, scarves, tatty ornaments, beads, teapots etc. WTF?
The rest of the downstairs is Crime. Upstairs is non fiction (self help books wall to wall, with a random selection of DIY manuals and Kirstie whatsits wallpaper your own cushion covers revamp type books).
It's bloody dreadful. Good libraries as one of the hallmarks of a civilised society. And our local one really isn't. It's a poor reflection of TV based themes and tie ins.
Sorry but rant rant rant. I complain everytime I go in there.