Tompkins County Public Library

Friday, August 11, 2006

Patron Comments - August 2006

Comment: Would like a little gate at Youth Services to prevent toddlers from wandering out of the department.
Response: Any kind of gate or door must be handicapped accessible and be able to function with a high volume of people who enter this area, often pushing baby carriages. This system would need to be installed at both entrances to Youth Services. This is a costly venture. Even if such a door system was installed, it is possible that the door/gate would be accidentally left open, so it would need to have a self-closing mechanism, which may be hazardous to toddlers. While your idea of a “little gate” would work in a home environment, it is impractical for this library. A far better solution is for parents to watch their children at all times.

Comment: Why are there so many self-published books; seems like the money could be better spent.
Response: Our Collection Plan does not expressly prohibit self-published books. All materials considered for the collections are evaluated under the criteria established within the collection plan.

Comment: What a joy! The reference librarian gave me immediate and appropriate help in answer to my question.
Response: Thank you!

Comment: File Music CDs so that the spine is title up.
Response: The music CDs are filed so that the “spine label” is face up, thus making it easier to re-shelve and locate CDs.

Comment: People should be asked to lower their voices; add signs to this effect.
Response: Our security guard is responsible for keeping the noise level down.

Comment: We were prevented from coming into the library at 8 p.m. even though the library closes at 8:15 p.m.
Response: Access to the main part of the library is unavailable 5 minutes before our closing time, in order to clear the library in an orderly fashion. You may still return items to the Circulation Desk or pick up holds. The closing procedures will be reviewed with our security guard.

Comment: Open another station when there are more than three people in line.
Response: Long lines are a result of not enough staff. Clerks must be deployed to check in materials as well as check out. The balance between these two functions may be uneven from moment to moment, but often, by the time a clerk is pulled away from other duties and opens up another station, the line has cleared itself.

Comment: Quicker system for checking e-mail for visitors.
Response: We have developed a quicker way for visitors to obtain the needed library ID number for access to the Internet.

Comment: Security guard was too harsh on me—my child was simply turning lamps on and off *(See entire complaint and answer below).

*“The security guard was too harsh regarding a 3 yr. old who was simply turning lamps on and off. If that’s really against the rules, he could have a chat with my son to distract him from ‘misbehaving,’ which he was doing out of boredom while I was quickly choosing books for my sick mother. Instead the guard slowed me down by berating me without pause.
There are a lot worse things a 3 yr.old can try to do in the library while mama tries to do some minimal business of her own!
Such as: press buttons on the printer, put pencils in the CD drive, turn off computers, pull books off the shelves, take CDs out of their cases, draw where he shouldn’t, wander off and get lost. . . .
You can see that a family visit to the library can be a challenge. Some empathetic teamwork by the guard would make it a lot easier.”
(This comment was not signed)

Library Director’s response: All of us at the Tompkins County Public Library want a safe and secure environment for children who use our library. When children misbehave, or are a danger to themselves or others, our policy is to speak directly to the parent. When a three year old amuses himself by turning lamps on and off, and the parent thinks that this is acceptable, it is our obligation to educate the parent. We expect parents to watch your children at all times, and to never leave young children unattended. Our security guard is not here to be part of an “empathetic teamwork” system. His job is to enforce the rules of behavior and ensure the safety and security of our patrons and staff.