Tompkins County Public Library

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Patron Comments - August/September 2005

Comment: Increase the loan period to three weeks for all items, so that people will need to make fewer trips and thus reduce their gasoline consumption
Response: Due to the fact that we have so few new items, it is unlikely that we will be increasing the loan periods—this would result in fewer people being able to obtain an item.

Comment: Move the suggestion box so that people who are writing comments are not blocking the return slots
Response: This can sometimes be a problem. We hope that patrons are polite and understanding when this occasionally happens.

Comment: Remove the sign “Donation Box” so that people can see that it is a donation box
Response: Will consider, thanks.

Comment: Get another pamphlet rack
Response: We just added another one last month.

Comment: Extend the borrowing period for books to two months; I can’t read a book in only three weeks
Response: Due to the fact that we have so few new items, it is unlikely that we will be increasing the loan periods—this would result in fewer people being able to obtain an item.

Comment: Change your computer system back to the way it was—new system is terrible!
Response: The new computer system Polaris is here to stay—but we are continually working on fixing glitches and customizing it to meet your needs.

Comment: I do not like the reservation system (for public Internet access?)
Response: We believe that this software ensures that all users are treated fairly and equitably

Comment: If the two hour free parking is eliminated, my use of the library will decrease. The library should get involved with this issue—maybe the library could stamp parking tickets for free parking?
Response: We agree that the City of Ithaca parking regulations may affect our library users. We will be writing to them regarding your concerns.

Comment: Can Polaris generate a complete list of all your audio books?
Response: It would be very cumbersome to use Polaris to look at such a list. We will investigate producing a printed list.

Comment: Would like a stand-up 15 minutes Express station for Internet access
Response: Very possible that this service will be added shortly

Comment: Re-instate self-check for audio books and AV materials
Response: You can check out all items at the self check workstations.

Comment: Cell phones should not be used in the library ever!
Response: Cell phones are a problem when people talk too loud and too long—just like regular conversations. We do ask cell phone users to step outside if their conversation is lengthy

Comment: Please post the # of allowable music CDs that you may borrow; I asked a volunteer or staff and they didn’t know
Response: Will review our signage. The limit is 25 items per user, and all 25 could be music CDs.

Comment: Very excellent e-mail based renewals or early alert for items due, Thanks
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Side entrance from the parking lot
Response: The library will continue to have only one entrance and exit, due to the high cost of maintaining and staffing two exits.

Comment: You need a garbage can outside the library; people shouldn’t have to bring their garbage into the library to throw it out
Response: When we had garbage cans outside the library, people would use them for household trash. First we removed them altogether (not a good idea), and have compromised by placing them inside the front door.

Comment: A pen or pencil for the suggestion box
Response: We will try to keep this stocked daily

Comment: Who, exactly, can use the restrooms in youth services?
Response: Children or parents/guardians with children

Comment: Are you monitoring our use of the Internet, with the new reservation system?
Response: The PC Reservation Software monitors your time, not what you are doing on the computer.

Comment: Please empty the Green Street book drop more frequently. I have been charged for materials that I returned on time but which were not checked in promptly
Response: If there is any delay in emptying the book drops, we record that information as we are checking in; you should not be charged under these conditions and should ask to speak to a supervisor.

Comment: Why can’t I sleep in the library?
Response: People are welcome to use the library for library purposes. Sleeping is not one of them

Comment: Can’t you find some other system for handling people who are signing up for a library card? It really backs up the circulation line
Response: Will review with our circulation staff

Comment: Thanks to the public library and especially Joyce who helped me search for books from home
Response: You are welcome!

Comment: Try to keep the classical music in order
Response: Will do, thank you.

Comment: Why can’t I sit in the aisles and look at books?
Response: We will review the rules with our security services. As long as you are not blocking the aisle, you should be fine.

Comment: Roof drains onto the west side of the building and should be fixed
Response: This problem has been brought to the attention of County Facilities since the month that we opened the library in November of 2000.

Comment: We return books directly to the circulation clerks to make sure that they are checked in on time. But we are made to wait for no apparent reason
Response: Will review with the circulation staff

Comment: Why do you let recent issues of magazines circulate?
Response: The most recent issue of a magazine does not circulate. Not everyone can stay in the library to read a magazine, so we do circulate magazines. If you are looking for a specific article, you might find that we have the full text available on line. For example, you can read the most recent issues of the New Yorker by going to our website and using the General Reference Center database.

Comment: Need a better system to sign up for the Gates computers
Response: PC Reservation Software, now installed in the Adult Department, will be installed in Youth Services shortly

Comment: New computer system is great!
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Don’t like the keyboards with the trackballs.
Response: Because there is no room for a keyboard AND a mouse, we purchased these. However, we are investigating an alternative that would allow for the return of the mouse,

Comment: Complaint about books returned in April but not taken off her account
Response: This was referred to the circulation Coordinator for follow up and resolved

Comment: Would like to donate books in memory of my granddaughter
Response: What a wonderful idea! The TCPL Foundation will contact you with details about how to do this.

Comment: Complaint from a person booking the Borg Warner Room regarding publicity on our web site
Response: This was a valid comment and we will be revising our Borg Warner booking sheet.

Comment: You’re wonderful!
Response: Thanks!

Comment: Allow people to place holds on items which are checked in
Response: This feature is currently allowable under the new Polaris system

Comment: Likes Internet system—first come, first served (this received prior to PC Reservation)
Response: Thank you

Comment: Is it always this busy?
Response: Our library is one of the busiest places in Tompkins County!

Comment: Would like the library to restore its subscriptions to Barrons and Investors Business Daily
Response: Unfortunately, our acquisitions budget has been drastically reduced and we cannot afford these subscriptions. Please let our reference librarians show you how to access similar information on the Internet

Comment: Now that you have more space, you have removed all of its contents!
Response: We own 240,000 items; about 75% of these are on the shelf and available for loan. What we are lacking is a robust acquisitions budget for the purchasing of new items and items which need replacing.

Comment: FLLS holds takes too long to get here
Response: That is something over which we have little control.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Patron Comments - July 2005

Comment: Dislikes foam soap in public washrooms, wants a real bar of soap.
Response: Liquid soap is easier to maintain and restock, and is cost-effective. The county went to Dial because the JoGo soap that they were using went up in price and suppliers are not carrying it in stock. The Dial lasts longer—you don’t need more than one push on the dispenser to have enough to wash your hands.

Comment: Security guard Tony was very helpful to me.
Response: Thank you.

Comment: I’d like to be able to see my place in the holds queue.
Response: This feature was enabled on August 1.

Comment: I agreed with the editorial in the Ithaca Times which criticized the library’s contingency budget request.
Response: The library’s response was printed the following week. You may read it on our website under library news.

Comment: Please re-install the pre-overdue notices on your new computer system
Response: This feature is enabled. If you are not receiving pre-overdue notices, make sure your e-mail address is up to date.

Comment: Place the self check workstations in the lobby area so people can use them at closing time when the line is the longest
Response: The self check units are closed 5 – 10 minutes before closing as part of our normal procedures designed to move people out of the library. It is impractical to move them to a different location at this time. You may find that it is faster to check out at the circulation desk.

Comment: Men’s urinals are at the wrong height and weird angle
Response: We’ve known about this problem since the day we moved into the new library, and have asked County Facilities to fix. However, the project is not moving forward due to cost.

Comment: Still concerned about the lack of collar for a sprinkler head in the men’s washroom
Response: Facilities will fix this.

Comment: Librarian was very kind and helped her find a map.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Beautiful Library!
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Harry Potter program was great.
Response: Thank you! We had fun doing it!

Comment: Summer Reading Program prize was great
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Would like a play room for young children
Response: As much as we would like to offer children a place to play, that’s not really what a library is all about.

Comment: Frustrated by Polaris catalog
Response: We hope you will ask us for help. There are several problems which we are fixing, so each day the software becomes easier to use.

Comment: Wants to be able to reserve the study rooms
Response: We do not have the staff to handle room reservations for these study rooms.

Comment: All of your staff have been wonderful to me
Response: Thank you for writing!

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Patron Comments - April 2005

Comment: Charge $1 for every DVD or Video so you can purchase more new movies.
Response: Thank you for your suggestion. We do not charge for library materials of any kind and have no plans to do so.

Comment: Please re-catalog the DVD Island at War so that the 3 volumes are able to be lent as a series.
Response: Will refer to our Technical Services Department. Thank you.

Comment: I love the new public Internet computers but you need a second browser.
Response: Thank you, we will consider doing this.

Comment: Adult Literacy section is very meager.
Response: We agree—but our acquisitions budget needs a huge boost in order to add items in this area.

Comment: 2 DVDs kept stalling—can’t you get the vendor to replace these at no cost?
Response: This is a frustrating experience because the problem occurs on some home DVD players and not others.

Comment: You are turning the public library into a corporation when you send accounts to a collection agency.
Response: We expect our users to be responsible, and to return items that they have borrowed, or pay for their replacement cost. Those users who are irresponsible must face the consequences.

Comment: I like the children’s holiday book display which is never “in my face.”
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Thanks for your hard work and for having such nice people to help.
Response: You are welcome!

Comment: Thanks for finding science fiction for me—just what I wanted!
Response: You are welcome!

Comment: Loves the display table up front.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: I like the pre-overdue notices.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Dislike the fact that the security alarm goes off even when everything is checked out.
Response: We dislike it, too and we are working to reduce the number of “false alarms.”

Comment: I love the art.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Why not sell some stuff like buttons or bags or books to support the library?
Response: Well, actually we do sell two sizes of book bags and our Friends of the Library sell over 300,000 books every year as a fund raiser for the library!

Comment: No keys in the lockers.
Response: Will follow up, thank you.

Comment: The best place in Ithaca!
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Loud cell phone in the stacks.
Response: Contact Security and they will handle it. We don’t ban cell phones, but we do require users to keep their conversations short and quiet.

Comment: Thanks for the grace period.
Response: You are welcome.

Comment: Storytime at this library better than at the bookstores.
Response: Well, we think so, too! Thank you!

Comment: My son loves coming to the library and thinks of the library staff as his friends!
Response: Great! Thank you!

Comment: Beautiful Library!
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Reference Desk Flower arrangement very beautiful.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: DVD collection rivals that of some of the video stores.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Thanks for the signs explaining where all the new books are.
Response: You are welcome!

Comment: Self check machine checked out everything except one item.
Response: Sometimes bar codes are not readable (just like at the grocery store) and have to be hand entered by a person. We are sorry for this frustrating experience.

Comment: Book drop was full and patron had to push in items which could be stolen.
Response: We NEVER recommend that you leave items in the book drop which can be retrieved by others. The bookdrops on the east side of the library are rarely full so you could try those. Also, the library offers a two-day grace period before we start charging fines, so take advantage of that if the bookdrops are full on the day your books are due.

Comments: Why doesn’t this library have a new bestseller when Groton already does?
Response: There can be a lag between the time our library receives its new books and when they are available to our users. Some of the smaller libraries are able to skip certain cataloging steps and more quickly place their new items in circulation before we can. We try to minimize the lag by flagging any item which is on hold for a patron and expediting its processing.

Comments: Did not get notices that items were lost.
Response: We are sorry. If you have an e-mail account, this information can be sent electronically. Be sure to let us know.

Comment: Happy about books being on display again in Youth Services.
Response: Great!

Comment: Loves Family Story time—great for working parents.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Thanks for help with finding books and help with computer.
Response: You are welcome!

Comment: Thanks for the women’s history display.
Response: You are welcome!

Comment: Complaint about the cost of the parking meters and fear that time has run out.
Response: The surface lot next to the library has two hours of free parking so no need to watch the meters. You may also enjoy parking in the new garage behind the library soon.

Comment: Doesn’t like having to pay for holds.
Response: We charge for hold for two reasons. First it generates badly needed revenue; and secondly it helps ensure that patrons actually pick up the book that we are holding for them.

Comment: Why are so many books “Not At this Location? It’s a waste of time.
Response: Our library’s holdings are blended with the holdings of 32 other public libraries in the Finger Lakes Library System. This means that you have more than 800,000 items available for your use, not just the 245,000 that our library owns. If you use the windows-based version of our catalog (iPAC) instead of the text version, it will be clearer what items we own and what items are owned by others. Items owned by other libraries are often quickly available ( one-two days) so don’t hesitate to request these.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Patron Comments - March 2005

Comment: Amount of noise disturbing.
Response: I am glad that the security guard was able to help you with this.

Comment: Security guard is overzealous and obnoxious.
Response: The security guard’s job is to enforce the rules of the library (see above). We expect that this will be done courteously and fairly.

Comment: Like renewals on-line.
Response: It is a convenience that we all appreciate.

Comment: Renewals on-line—directions are too small to follow.
Response: We hope that our new computer catalog system will make this easier for you.

Comment: Staff is courteous and friendly.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Grateful for Internet access.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: New book shelves are empty.
Response: We are disappointed also that our acquisitions budget is so meager.

Comment: Door alarm set off, unwarranted.
Response: This can be annoying.

Comment: Self check machine not desensitizing items; confusion about how to check out videos.
Response: We are working with 3M our vendor to check these on a routine basis. Signage will be added regarding video check out.

Comment: Paper notices are unreadable due to carbon smudges.
Response: You can receive these notices via e-mail, or you can go on line and check your account. A new printing system for paper overdue notices may be obtained later in the year.

Comment: Patron feels harassed by phone calls from collection agency.
Response: If you are currently making payments on your overdue accounts, you should not be receiving phone calls. Please see our Circulation Coordinator for help.

Comment: Thanks for finding my book!
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Pre-overdue notices are great.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Glad you are open on Sundays.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Get rid of or move Gates computers (for kids).
Response: The Gates computers are one of the most popular services in our Youth Services Department. Parents and librarians together must teach children appropriate use of computers.
Comment: Concern that video tapes are damaging his VCR player.
Response: Many of our videos have a high circulation rate and we are currently pulling many of the older titles off the shelves to reduce the likelihood of this happening.

Comment: Doors did not unlock promptly at 10:00 forcing people to stand in the cold.
Response: Our doors are programmed to open at precisely 10:00 a.m., but as you note, not all clocks are synchronized.

Comment: Need signage near the CDs explaining the organization system.
Response: Good idea, will follow up on this.

Comment: Thanks for all of your help, you’ve been great.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Patron wanted to complain about flag outside, but phone system didn’t help direct his call.
Response: That can be frustrating!

Comment: Nice job with CD collection.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Fines go to a good cause.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Great collection in youth services.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Would like picture books displayed on top of shelves.
Response: We are now doing that.

Comment: Handicapped parking impossible due to snow.
Response: We sympathize. Removal of snow along the sidewalks, curbs and bus stops is a City of Ithaca responsibility.

Comment: Doesn’t like phone answering system, wants a human.
Response: We do have volunteers who answer our incoming calls, but can always use more.

Comment: New to the area, loves the beautiful library.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Would like work space at the microfilm machines.
Response: This is a good suggestion, and we’ll see what we can do.

Comment: Videos shelved on bottom shelf are too hard to see.
Response: We sympathize but due to the space available for videos, we must place them on the bottom shelves.

Comment: Why are rest rooms cleaned when there are users in the Borg Warner Room who need access?
Response: Will refer to County Facilities who are responsible for cleaning.

Comment: Add signage in restrooms that patrons should wash hands.
Response: Will posting a common sense sign like this really change the behavior of people?

Monday, February 7, 2005

Patron Comments - February 2005

Comment: Fix the CD section labels so that they stay in place
Response: Thanks, we’ll investigate

Comment: The CD separators keep popping out—can they be glued in?
Response: Will investigate, thanks

Comment: Upset over the lack of new books and a three week loan period for new books
Response: We are upset too, and are working to obtain supplemental funding so we can increase our acquisitions budget.

Comment: I dislike the computers in the kids area and think they should not be so “central” (from a mother of an 11 month old”
Response: Our computers are located where our staff can monitor their use and provide help when needed. Every parent needs to learn how to balance good books and reading with the natural attraction of media such as computer games, the Internet, etc. and we hope to be able to do more to help parents with this issue.

Comment: Loan period on DVDs which are multiples should be lengthened from one week –can’t possibly watch the whole thing in one week.
Response: Will investigate, thank you

Comment: Allow more time on the computers
Response: Unfortunately, the demand for computer time exceeds our supply of computers

Comment: I wasn’t allowed in the main section of the library at 4:55 p.m. even though the sign says that you are open until 5 p.m.
Response: The library begins to shut down operations 15 minutes before closing so that we can empty the building in an orderly and timely manner. Access to the library services at five minutes before closing is restricted to the circulation desk area (where you can return items, check out items or pick up items on hold)

Comment: No instructions on how to self check videos
Response: Will investigate

Comment: The exhibit which shows “ripped” books sends a bad message to children
Response: Art can be controversial—hoped that you had a good conversation with your child about why an artist would do this and what message was being conveyed.

Comment: So glad you are open on Sundays
Response: Thanks

Comment: Like the pre-overdue notices
Response: Thanks

Comment: Beautiful Library
Response: Thanks!

Comment: Like programs in Youth Services
Response: Thanks

Comment: Like Staff Service
Response: Thank you from all of us!

Comment: Tutor glad our GED collection is so broad
Response: Thanks

Comment: Loved our vendacard printing service
Response: Thanks

Comment: Concern over cleanliness of computer keyboards
Response: We do have volunteers who tackle this problem.

Comment: “many” records in catalog have no holdings attached
Response: There are two reasons for this:
If the last copy of title (holdings) is deleted, the information about that title may remain for up to thirty days, at which time an “automatic delete” is done for all of those empty records.
You may also see a title with no TCPL holdings; but other libraries do own the title. In this case, you need to get to a screen which shows the holdings of other libraries.
In either event, ask a librarian for help.

Comment: Would like back door
Response: Sorry.

Comment: Like collection
Response: Thanks

Comment: AV bookdrop chute sometimes jams, don’t feel comfortable leaving items there
Response: Yes, it does. You might try the bookdrops on the east side of the library which are less likely to jam.

Comment: From a TC 3 student—thanks for the help in getting books and articles for my report
Response: Thanks.

Comment: You’re the best!
Response: Thank you!

Comment: Self check stopped working mid=stream with strange message on it
Response: Sorry.

Comment: “It’s so nice dealing with you all.”
Response: Thanks.

Comment: Hard to do renewals online—no good directions
Response: If you call us, we can walk you through the process.

Comment: Thanks for providing free plastic bags
Response: You are welcome.

Comment: Thanks for the grace period
Response: You’re welcome.

Comment: More information about the library closing on staff development day, paper, radio
Response: We’ll try to do better next year.

Comment: Thanks for your recommendation of a ballet book
Response: You are welcome.