Good Monday morning I hope you all had a great holiday weekend. Brace yourself because I’m going to rant this morning. If you can’t rant on your personal blog where can you…
Okay so here is what happen. I received an email from a public library where I have an open access account that I had a DVD checked out that was due on the 30th. Um. Really, because I’ve not checked out anything from this library system in months and never even set foot in the branch where the item was checked out, I had to google where it was even located… Also there is the fact that the day it was checked out I was at work, at my own library more than 40 miles away.
I called up the library to get to the bottom of what happen and was informed that since my bar-code was used at the self checkout machine I had in fact checked out the movie. I told them that was not possible I have never checked out a movie from them and I was at work that day. They insisted that I did and would put the item up for search as lost for 90 days but if it didn’t show up I would be responsible for the item. I told them if that happen I would be closing my account with them and to please freeze the account in the meantime so whoever checked this item out doesn’t go and check out more things in my name making me responsible for them too. Hung up the phone and called the city hall to get a copy of my time card as my alibi and sat down to stew about this whole deal.
Okay, I get it. I work in a library and I know patrons will come up with every excuse in the book for why they are not responsible for a lost, late, or damaged item. I deal with it too, but sometimes just maybe the patron is telling the truth. Machines are not infallible, they can be hacked or perhaps someone has a similar bar code as the one on my card or what ever the reason mistakes can be made. As soon as I became aware that an item was checked out in my name I contacted the library to let them know I did not check this item out. The fact that the item isn’t even due yet gives credence to my case, as well as my asking to freeze my account. I will pay for the item if it can’t be found or isn’t returned, but I will bitch about it. Loudly.
After stewing on this for a couple of hours I called them back to have my account closed all together. I don’t use that library very often and I can ILL items I can’t find in my library. Their attitude left a bad taste in my mouth and quite frankly if the item is returned I don’t see myself forgiving them or trusting them enough to remain a patron. I was informed that they could not close my account until the movie issue was resolved but did reassure me that no one can use the account. I tried to log in a while later and the account number is no longer active so I wonder if someone reevaluated the situation and either decided I wasn’t worth the fight or possibly even telling the truth. We will see. I am documenting everything and if I someday get a bill in the mail I will show up in person to fight the charge.
I still believe in the public library system, but I can totally see how librarians sometimes deserve the negative stereotypes they receive. This was perhaps a valuable experience I went through this morning that has the potential to make me a better librarian. Now that I’ve been on the other side of the desk over a dispute I need to take these feeling I’m having this morning and work so that I don’t make my patrons feel this way. Not that I want to be walked over and taken advantage of, but I can work hard to make sure my patrons leave with a better opinion of how I handled their issues than I did this morning.
Do you have any library horror stories? Or what do you think I should have done? Leave a comment below.