Sunday, January 8, 2012

Library Lagniappe --- on patience

Library LagniappeI am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.
Margaret Thatcher, in Observer April 4, 1989
British politician (1925 - )

I found myself thinking about this quote today, while working at the library.   Why?  Because lately, the whole concept of patience has been on my mind .... because of e-readers.   Let me explain.

Our library subscribes to a product called Overdrive, which allows us to provide access to downloadable e-books and audiobooks to our patrons.   As a reader, you may already be familiar with Overdrive if your own library offers it.   It's actually a pretty nice product, as it has a collection of audiobooks and e-books, and recently, Overdrive worked out a business deal with Amazon to offer e-books for Kindles.   And, most of the time, it's pretty great.

But right now, our Reference staff has been working hard to keep up with questions from people who just got some kind of e-reader for Christmas --- and some of these people expect us to 1) know everything possible about how to make it work, and 2) be able to fix any kind of problem .... with a snap of our fingers.  

Thus, my little quote about patience at the top of this post, and the inspiration for today's Library Lagniappe.  If you, or someone you know, has an e-reader (a Nook, a Kindle product, an iPad, a tablet, etc) and you go to the library for help with downloading stuff, please keep this in mind:

Library staff often do not get these devices for in-library use, so sometimes, the first time any of us have seen a device is when someone brings it into the library.   This means ----

* Sometimes, we operate a lot on theory, but not on actual practice.  I own a Nook, so I'm very comfortable with troubleshooting that device.  I do not own a Kindle product (any of them), and until last week, had not physically seen a Kindle Fire.    

* We have a lot of information from Overdrive about how to make Overdrive work with these devices.  However, their information isn't always perfect, which means we sometimes have to search for a solution to a problem.   I know it may be hard to believe, but we do not magically have all of the answers --- we are librarians, and we know how to find them.

* We are not allowed to touch your device if you bring it in to the library.   We can show you where to touch on it, etc., but we are not allowed to touch it, ourselves.    And also ..... if you call us on the phone and ask for help, we cannot magically see you, your computer, or your device.   All we can do is go on what you are telling us, and try to help.  

and finally ---- We are doing the best we can, so please bear with us.  Overdrive and Amazon worked out their deal and didn't let us know until the day the e-books became available, so we all had to scramble to come up with instructions for our library patrons, and figure out how the downloading process works (because it's very, very different for any Kindle device than it is for any other e-reader).  Then, Amazon came out with things like the Fire, which work differently, as well.    We are working as fast as we can to keep up with the changes, and the technology, and how to get that information to our patrons.   We do not work in the world of Harry Potter and do not know a specific spell to make the downloading work, work faster, etc.  

So .... we do our best to be patient with the technology, and all I ask is that people be a bit patient with us.   We almost always get to the root of the problem and get everything working, as quickly as we can... and a with a smile.   Even if it takes 45 minutes.   Yes....   you might find that exhausting, and so do we.

Thank you!!!


Silsbee said...

"we cannot magically see you, your computer, or your device"

We have Overdrive at our library, too. The only kind of training we got was a one-hour webinar. It was very informative, but if you are a person who needs to "do" something to understand how it works, it's not the most practical of training.

It's all very frustrating at times. Good luck to you. :)

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