Monday, January 19, 2015

Ask the Librarian: My library never has the books I want!!

Yes, Lego Librarian!
I'm going to try something new in 2015, which is posting about some of the questions and complaints that I hear from people about libraries.

Are libraries perfect?  Heck, no!  But, there are always solutions.   

So, today's complaint is:  My library never has the books I want! or They don't have anything by the author I like!

Here's some help:  Maybe your library doesn't always have the books you want (like, maybe their science fiction section is really small, or they never seem to have books by an author you love).  The thing is, you need to speak up.  Don't walk away just because you don't see something on the shelf.   ASK a staff member for help!  The thing is, the book could be in the library's collection and just not be on the shelf, or in the right place (or, there could be a computer glitch and it's not showing up in the catalog).  Library staff can see if the library owns it --- and if they don't, ask if they can get it through interlibrary loan.   Hint: The Library of Congress is one of the few places that seems to own everything under the sun.  For the rest of us libraries, we rely on sharing things with each other.   Interlibrary loan usually takes about a week (or less) and doesn't cost you a thing! 

And here's another idea:  ask if you can suggest a purchase.   At my library, we're always happy to receive suggestions from people about things to add to our collection.  We can't guarantee that we can buy everything that everyone suggests, but we do the best we can. And we never assume that we know about every single book that gets published.  We work hard to stay on top of publishing, but we don't ever claim to know about all the books that come out every year.   That's why we like it when people give us feedback and suggestions.

See how easy that was?  

Libraries rely on input from our patrons to make our library great.  So, we provide tons of ways for people to contact us:  phone, email, instant message, and even comment cards that people can write on and drop into boxes around the library.   

And so, I'm asking anyone reading this to leave me a comment ----  like, is this a worthwhile thing to post about?  Do you have any questions/complaints you'd like me to address in the future?
Thanks for your input!


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