Tompkins County Public Library

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Patron Comments November 2014

Comment:  Please Provide a better hand-drying solution in the bathrooms in the kid's area.  Paper towels or a stronger air dryer.  It's especially difficult with kids.
Response:  Thank you for your feedback.  We will discuss this with our Facilities team and see if we can find a more user-friendly and environmentally sound method for hand-drying.  Thanks for bringing your children to TCPL, we hope they love their visits!

Comment:  It is 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.  The Ithaca Journal has not been delivered!  Does the library pay for it?  Perhaps you shouldn't.
Response:  We're sorry to hear that the newspaper wasn't available during your library visit.  Like the library, The Ithaca Journal is a tremendous resource for our community, and has been for nearly 200 years, so we understand how important having a copy available is to our patrons.  We will follow-up with our delivery person to ensure more timely delivery in the future.

Comment:  Please install track lighting in the art exhibit areas of the library.  
Response:  Thank you for your suggestion.  Lighting for our art exhibits has long been on our wish list.  We hope to continue providing museum-quality exhibits throughout the library for years to come and are hopeful that we will be able to provide enhanced lighting in the near future.

Comment:  {Please Offer} Japanese language exchange groups.
Response:  TCPL is committed to providing English language-learning programs for newcomers and new speakers.  Please consider joining us for one of our ESL Snack and Chat Conversation Groups. The next ESL Snack and Chat session begins February 22.  Visit for more information.

Comment:  Thanks to Mary for being awesome.  Keep that smile on your face!
Response:  Mary is a terrific member of the library team.  She is a true dynamo,working diligently to ensure that the needs of our patrons are being met.  She keeps us all smiling.

Comment:  Just a suggestion, the ladies room needs either the option of paper towels or faucets that continue running without being pushed down.
Response:  Thank you for your suggestion.  We will happily share them with our terrific Facilities team.

Comment:  Bring back a third security guard.  James was a good guard.
Response:  The entire TCPL team was sad to see James move on to a new security detail. Unfortunately, funding for additional security guards is not available at this time.  We are confident that our current guards, Darryl and Daniel will ensure that our patrons continue to feel safe and welcome during visits to the library.

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 2014 Patron Comments

Comment:  I love seeing special displays in the library and have found new authors and titles I ordinarily might not have discovered.  Keep them coming!

Response:  Thank you so  much for taking the time to let us know how much you enjoy our displays.  Library Assistant Tom Burns is constantly working to create timely, entertaining and intriguing displays for our patrons.  We are delighted that  his hard work has introduced you to new authors and titles!  

Comment:  Wonderful photo montages of Tompkins County Then and Now.  TCPL needs gallery lights for its exhibits.

Response:  TCPL is tremendously excited and proud to exhibit "Montage Histories: Tompkins County, NY, through Photographs, 1864-2014."  It is a fascinating project that allowed us to partner with Tompkins Cortland Community College, Cornell University graduate students, The History Center in Tompkins County and the New York Council for the Humanities--organizations that--like TCPL-- embrace the importance of celebrating our history while looking toward the future of our community.

Gallery lights are certainly on our wishlist!  When the new library was built, we could have never anticipated the amazing art that we would have the privilege of showcasing and sharing with our patrons.  We are truly fortunate to be a part of such an artistic and creative community of artists, and we hope to highlight our wonderful exhibits with enhanced lighting in the future.

Comment:  Please keep soap in your public bathrooms.

Response:  We're sorry that you experienced this inconvenience. Our facilities team conducts regular checks of our restrooms each day to prevent issues like this.  Please be sure to let us know if you experience this in the future, so that we can remedy the situation promptly.

Comment:  The Library and its associates should not discriminate or segregate people that are different than them.

Response:  We couldn't agree more!  That's why TCPL and libraries throughout the world provide free and equal access to community members at every age and every stage of life.  Libraries are one of the best examples of democracy in our country--providing opportunities and resources without cost or prejudice.

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 2014 Patron Comments

Comment:  Thank you for a wonderful library!
Response:  We are delighted that you enjoy the library, but it is you who deserves the thanks!  TCPL relies on public and private support from our patrons!  We couldn't do what we do without YOU!

Comment:  Sunday, I checked the website (and it said) that the library was open from 1 to 5 p.m.. When I arrived at the library, you were closed.  Please post closings on the website.
Response:  We are so sorry for the inconvenience.  Our website lists our regular Sunday hours of 1 to 5 p.m., beginning September 28.  We hope you will visit us then!

Comment:  Phone message needs to wait until my message is over.  All I hear is "Please call for these items at your earliest convenience."  I didn't hear that it was the library calling.
Response:  Thank you so much for this valuable feedback.  Clear communication with our patrons is a priority, and  we will explore a longer delay for the start of our recording!  

Comment:  I think DVDs of TV series should have a longer allotted borrowing time before return than a DVD of a movie--at least two weeks.
Response:  Thank you for sharing your concern.  Our DVD borrowing period is set at seven days due to the popularity of the collection, but we realize that busy schedules can make it difficult for our patrons to get in a weekend marathon of their favorite series.  We are constantly reviewing our borrowing policy and sincerely appreciate this suggestion.

Comment:  You need a better selection of books.
Response:  We are constantly adding to our comprehensive collection to meet the needs of our patrons. Please let us know what titles and genres you find the most appealing!

Comment:  I really miss the table by the Xerox machine.  It helped me stay more organized.  Now, the table is too far away and covered with staff suggestions.  Please place an empty table right next to the copier.
Response:  Thank you for your suggestion!  We get pretty excited about books around here, and sometimes, in our excitement to share them with our patrons, we have to re-purpose furniture.  Your comment is an important one, and we will look at adding a small table near the copier for patron use while keeping our staff suggestion table!

Comment:  I was one of a large number of annoyed patrons who were unaware of yesterday's closing.  More communications would have been helpful--I'm a regular reader of "The Ithaca Journal" and did not see any postings, whereas I always see announcements placed by other agencies.  And why not find a less busy day of the week than a Friday to shut down.  I certainly hope it was an important training to justify shutting down for an entire day.  Thumbs Down.  I am a regular online patron and only an occasional visitor.
Response:  We're sorry you weren't aware of our September 19 closing for Staff Development Day.  TCPL attempts to spread this information through media releases to local and regional media outlets, through our social media sites, our website, building signage and our telephone system.  The library closes only one day per year for staff training, and it is an essential tool for ensuring that our staff members are able to provide up-to-date, quality customer service for our patrons.  Our website is open 24 hours-a-day, 365 days per year for your convenience!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 2014 Patron Comments

Comment:  You should have a drop box for the Friends of the Library Book Sale.
Response:  Thank you so much for this creative suggestion.  We will talk with our colleagues at the the Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library about the possibility of adding a drop box.  In the meantime, please feel free to bring any donation items to our Circulation and Access Services Desk or one of our staffed Reference areas.

Comment:  The hand dryer in the men's room is really not very good--needs stronger and longer flow. Thank you.
Response:  Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  We will share your feedback with our Facilities teams.

Comment:  I would like to be able to see DVDs, books, etc. that are on order when I search the catalog and be able to place a hold.  Some other branches have this capability.
Response:  Thank you for this suggestion.  We agree that this is an important service and hope that future technology upgrades to our catalog will make this possible.  In the meantime, please let our Reference librarians know if there is a particular item that you would like to see in our collection. 

Comment:  For some reason, you have a policy that doesn't allow one to send emails from Outlook.  They can be sent through a web interface, but not from Outlook.  Outlook can receive email messages but not send them.  I don't think I've ever seen this policy on any other public WiFi network, so that suggests to me that it's actual security benefit is minimal, if any.  I think it's an unnecessary limitation, and I think it makes the library a less useful place to work.  I hope you will reconsider this policy.
Response:  Thank you for sharing your concern.  While there is no specific policy of this type in place, IT questions of this type are best answered by our technology support team.  During your next visit, please ask to speak to a Sherpa representative.  

Comment:  Buy "Blue Gold" by Maude Barlow.  It is on the global water crisis.
Response:  Thank you for drawing our attention to this title on such an important topic.  Your request has been forwarded to an ordering librarian.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 2014 Patron Comments

Comment:  How much do these "security" guards make?  Have they ever done anything useful?
Response:  TCPL contracts with Securitas, a private security firm to ensure that the guards assigned to the Library are up-to-date on the latest trends in public and private security.  They are an integral part of the TCPL team.  We have increased our security presence in response to patron suggestions and have heard from many community members who appreciate the added sense of comfort offered by our security team.

Comment:  Please remove the awful rust sculptures from the Library entrance.  They are not art.
Response:  Thank you for your feedback.  The sculptures are part of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance's Art in the Heart of the City program.  TCPL is delighted to host art through this collaboration.  As Henry David Thoreau once said, "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

Comment:  Great books!   I really enjoyed "Acts of God" by Gilchrist and "Under the Wild" and "Starry Sky" by Horan.
Response:  Thank you for your wonderful recommendations.  One of the most magical gifts of literature is its ability to be shared!

Comment:  Make cards $1.
Response:  Thank you for your suggestion. One of the reasons that TCPL, and libraries throughout the country, are such vital community anchors is because of our commitment to providing free and equal access to resources and services.  Our library cards are free for residents of Tompkins and its contiguous counties, so that our entire community can benefit from and enjoy the Library!

Comment:  I would increase your limit of items on one's card.  I was visiting my sister her in Ithaca and had to put back half our books as your limit is only 20.  Our library system in Schenectady, NY allows 99 items per card.  Otherwise, this is a beautiful library--we loved the children's section.
Response:  We're glad you enjoyed the library.  Our community is fortunate to enjoy such a beautiful space for reading, reflection and community connections.  It sounds like your library system has a generous borrowing policy and it is wonderful that your family uses its services so heavily.  At TCPL, each card member can only borrow 20 items at a time, but all family members, including babies, can enjoy the benefits of Library cards.

Comment:  It's too hard to find DVDs!  When I'm in the mood for a comedy, I have to look for one from A-Z.  Grouping by type--comedy/mystery/drama, etc., would be so much easier.
Response:  Thank you for your suggestion.  Our goal is always to make TCPL easily accessible for our patrons.  Your feedback has been provided to our Adult Services Department for consideration.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Patron Comments June 2014

Comment:  Rather than placing the plexi-glass donation box in the entry lobby, perhaps we could get up a petition to our friends in the Common Council (across the street) to discontinue their security station and give the library the $80,000 annual savings.  They seriously don't need that rent-a-cop over there.
Response:  Thank you for recognizing the importance of public and private support for the library!  We work regularly with the Office of the Mayor and Common Council to discuss partnerships and funding opportunities.  The Library relies heavily on outsourced security services, so we fully appreciate the importance of public safety and hope that additional security at the Library and City Hall, help to make our community a safer, more comfortable place.

Comment:  Debbie was very helpful with finding and putting books on hold.
Response:  Thank you for sharing positive feedback about your library experience.  Debbie is a wonderful asset to TCPL.  She is an energetic, enthusiastic and always willing to go above-and-beyond to help patrons. 

Comment:  Movie request for "S.W.A.T. "The Firefight" by Beverly Jager.
Response:  Thank you for your request.  It has been forwarded to the ordering librarian.

Comment:  Noisy
Response:  We're sorry to hear that you found the library noisy during your recent visit. The library is a wonderful place for quiet enjoyment and lively programs and community conversations.  A wonderful place to enjoy calm at quiet at the Library is our Ezra Cornell Reading Room.  Please keep this space in mind during future visits when you are looking for a time for quiet reading or reflection.

Comment:  Book Request "No Place to Hide" by Glen Greenwald.
Reponse:  Thank you for your request. It has been forwarded to the appropriate library for ordering consideration.

Comment:  I am happy you have guards.  I feel safe.
Response:  We are delighted to hear that you feel safer as a result of our security guards.  Patron safety is a priority at TCPL!

Comment:  Put more bathrooms and drinking fountains at the front entrance.
Response:  Thank you for your suggestion.  We are constantly looking at ways to improve the function and accessibility of our building.  While lack of funding prohibits us from implementing many ideas for enhancements, we do have a wish-list of changes for future consideration.  We will add your suggestion to the list.

Comment:  Take the benches out in front of the library.  Then the people that hang around each day, smoking and selling drugs may lessen.  Thank you!  Have a Nice Day!
Response:  Thank you for suggesting the removal of the benches in front of the library building.  The benches are owned and maintained by Tompkins County.  While we have discussed their removal, we agree that they are important for the many community members awaiting TCAT transit services.  Instead we have increased our security presence and implemented a Zero-Tolerance Policy on illegal activity on library property. We are confident that this will help prevent future incidents.

Comment:  I'd like to request the book "The Unincorporated Woman" by Dan Kollin.  You have three other books in the series.  Thank you.
Response:  Thank you! We have notified the librarian responsible for ordering Science Fiction titles of your request.

Comment:  I've always wondered why TCPL closes on Sundays spring, summer, fall as though following the college calendar, focusing open hours around students.  These students have access to college and university libraries, whereas we in the community have only TCPL.  If one works during the week, Sunday is a primary visit day.  Seems curios.
Response:  Let us alleviate some of your curiosity!  TCPL is currently open 22 Sundays per year.  While we would love to be open on Sundays year-round, our funding is prohibitive.  When determining which Sundays to be open, we review door count figures from previous years and schedule our Sunday hours during times of highest attendance.  While our statistics may be higher when college students are in the area, we do not intentionally base our Sunday schedule on the college calendar.

Comment:  Please consider breaking DVDs and CDs into "children" and "young adult."  I think it is very important.  My 4-year-old is interested in Spider-Man.  We took home a DVD with no rating from the children's section.  I heard the words "what the hell."  We immediately returned it with a note, asking for it to be removed from the children's section.  It would be so helpful if all the DVDs on the children's shelf were appropriate for the under 8 crowd visiting the library.  This issue is making my visits to the library difficult and frustrating for both of us.
Response:  Thank you for sharing your concerns. They have been shared with our Youth Services librarians.  We appreciate how difficult it can be to select items for young audiences, especially with no visible rating.  As you can imagine, selecting materials for the Youth Services Department is challenging--it is difficult to choose items by age, because children develop and mature differently.  Our librarians can offer tremendous insight into the selection process, as can our catalog system.  Should you have any questions about titles for particular age groups, please ask one of our librarians.  Additionally, our online catalog often provides recommended age/rating information. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Patron Comments May 2014

Comment:  I was surprised when I came in to pick up a held item (about a week after receiving notice that it was in) to be told it had been returned and my account charged for "reshelving" because I hadn't retrieved it within seven days.

The phone message (automated) that notifies a patron to come to TCPL for a requested item says nothing about a retrieval deadline or accompanying fine.  This is not really fair to the patron.

Please change the end of the automated message from "please pick up this item ASAP" to "we will hold the item for one week from today, after which it will be returned and shelved and a fee then charged to your library account."  People should be informed if there is a deadline and fee.

Response:  Thank you for sharing your thoughts on TCPL's current hold policies and related communications.  We are constantly reviewing our circulation procedures to ensure quality service for our patrons and maximum efficiency for the department.  We no longer charge a fee for placing a hold, but do still charge accounts if a hold is not picked-up before its "unclaimed" date.  Your feedback regarding the automated message is helpful and has been shared with the department.  Additional information about TCPL hold policies can be found at

Comment:  [The Library should hold a] teen lock-in where teens read a certain book and then have a special night of programs about it.

Response:  Thank you for your wonderful suggestion.  TCPL's Teen Librarian Regina DeMauro is constantly developing creative teen programs like the one you have suggested to keep teens and tweens engaged and active in the Library!  You should consider joining our Teen Advisory Group where you can help Regina develop programs, select titles for our collection, advocate on behalf of TCPL and share ideas and suggestions for new/enhanced teen services.  For more information, visit

Comment:  You should get a new copy of the movie "Starship Troopers."  It is no longer in the system.

Response:  Thank you for your suggestion!  It has been shared with the staff member responsible for ordering DVD's.  In the meantime, opies of "Starship Troopers 2" and Starship Troopers 3" are available through the Finger Lakes Library System.

Comment:  Suggested purchases:  Children's DVDs on US History, including the Civil War. 

Response:  Thank you for your request, it has been passed on to our Youth Services Department. 

Comment:  Thank you.  Good job guys!

Response:  Thank you for sharing positive feedback about TCPL.  We are committed to providing a quality library experience for Tompkins County and the surrounding area and are glad to hear that you appreciate the Library.

Comment:  I don't like the library

Response:  We're sorry to hear that you don't enjoy the Library.  With so many programs, resources and services, maybe you haven't yet found the one that best suits your needs.  We encourage you to continue visiting and share your ideas for  enhancing the services we provide.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Patron Comments March and April 2014

Comment:  Tom was very helpful in locating books.
Response:  We are delighted to hear that you were pleased with the service you received at TCPL.  We have two wonderful staff members in our Adult Serviced Department named Tom.  They are both tremendous assets to TCPL and our community!

Comment:  I suggest the Library not pay The Ithaca Journal--Monday at 3:30 and Saturday at 1:30, there was still no paper.  On Saturday, the New York Times was here. No newspaper, no money.
Response:  Thank you for letting us know that our copy of The Ithaca Journal was not in its home spot during your visits.  The Ithaca Journal is a tremendous resource for our community, and it is very popular among Library patrons.  Our copies may have been being read by someone else, or our delivery person may have been experiencing delays.  Please feel free to let a staff member know if you cannot find the newspaper--or any item--at the Library!

Comment:  I am not comfortable or happy with the security kiosk right by the front door.
Response:  Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the relocation of our security kiosk.  The kiosk move is part of a number of trial steps we are taking to ensure that our patrons find the Library a safe, and welcoming space.  Your thoughts will be shared with our security team and considered as we develop additional security policies and procedures in the coming weeks!

Comment:  When the Library closes because of the weather, could you change the phone message to reflect that the Library is closed?  It's frustrating to walk all the way over on my creaky bones to find it closed--especially when I've tried to call to check.  I was told here at the front desk that the closure is on the Internet--that is why I am here--I don't have Internet at home!
Response:  We are so sorry to hear that you ventured to the Library on one of the few days we were closed due to weather this winter.  We do our absolute best to remain open for our community, even during inclement weather. Unfortunately, there are days when it just isn't safe for our staff members to make the commute to work.  While our phone messages cannot be changed remotely, we do contact local radio and television stations to notify patrons without home Internet service when we are closed.  Again we are sorry for your inconvenience and are hoping for warm, sunny weather in the months ahead!

Comment:  Vicky was very helpful during my visit with finding and renewing a book.  Thanks!
Response:  We are delighted to hear that Vicky was able to assist you during your recent visit.  We are very fortunate to have long-time, dedicated employees like Vicky!

Comment:  I love the indoor trees.  Keep it up!
Response:  Thank you!  The trees were a thoughtful gift from the Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library in recognition of our relocation to Green Street.  They have become a well-loved and recognizable part of our Avenue of the Friends!

Comment:  More original Japanese manga and a language exchange group for language-learning patrons.
Response:  Thank you so much for your suggestions.  They have been shared with the librarians responsible for our Manga and World Languages collections.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Patron Comments January 2014

Comment:  Get a copy of the audio book for “Harvest” by Tess Gerritseh.
Response:  Thank you for your suggestion. It has been shared with the Librarian responsible for ordering Audiobooks.

Comment:  Patron would like more attention paid to handicap path during winter.
Response:  Thank you for this important suggestion.   It is our goal to make the Library easily accessible for all members of our community. We will share your feedback with our Facilities team!

Comment:  It is not very pleasant to come to the library and try to read when there are many people (mostly men) sitting in the chairs by the windows talking about cops, drugs, using the “F” word and talking on their cell phones.
Response:  We are sorry to learn of your recent experience at the Library.  We are committed to providing free and equal access to all members of our community; however, any time you are unhappy with the environment or services at TCPL, please reach out to a staff member.  Additionally, consider visiting our Ezra Cornell Reading Room for a comfortable, quiet reading space.

Comment:  Buy Wheelmen, by Reed Albergotti.
Response:  Thank you for your suggestion.  It has been passed on to the appropriate Librarian for consideration.  While TCPL does not currently own a copy of “Wheelmen”, one can be borrowed through inter-library loan.  Please call or visit our Reference Desk for more information.

Comment:  My Promised Land, by Ari Shavit would be nice to have.  The First Phone Call from Heaven, by Mitch Albom.
Response:  Thank you for your feedback.  “My Promised Land” is available through inter-library loan.  Call or visit our Reference Desk for information on borrowing a copy.  As you can imagine, Mitch Albom’s latest book is very popular.  TCPL owns several copies, but they are being heavily circulated.  Consider placing a hold on a copy, and you will be contacted when one is available.

Comment:  When did the front of the library by the windows become a freakin loud day-care center for people who sound like they don’t even know how to read?
Response:  It is unclear whether or not you are referring to the space inside or outside of the Library.  We are currently working diligently to make the space outside of the Library more accessible to our patrons.  If you are experiencing disruptive behavior inside the Library, please let a staff member know, so that appropriate measures can be taken.

Comment:  Please don’t mix categories!  Science Fiction and Horror ( I hate horror)
Response:  Thank you for your suggestion.  Our Science Fiction and Horror titles mixed due to space constraints; however, our reference librarians would be happy to help you identify titles that fall into each category.

Comment:  Please bring back the “Not New But Worth a View” section.
Response:  We're glad you enjoyed the "Not New, But Worth a View," section!  While we no longer have a designated spot for these titles, we are still putting thematic "Not New, But Worth a View" titles on our new display units.  Please take a look at these evolving displays!

Comment:  Please get new movies.  The ones you got don’t work sometimes and music.
Response:  Thank you for your feedback.  We are constantly working to expand our DVD and CD offerings.  Should you find specific titles in our collection that do not work, please let us know, so that the item can be reordered or repaired.

Comment:  More Hip-Hop cd’s would be great for culture.
Response:  Thank you for your suggestion.  It has been passed on to the ordering Librarian.

Comment:  Not for the first time, may I suggest:  Line for those not having business to transact (overdue, lost, etc. Waiting and waiting in line to simply pick up a hold request.  Self-serve not an option.
Response:  We apologize for the inconvenience.  We are currently reviewing our hold procedures in order to streamline the process

Comment:  It would be good to have a different system for people applying for a library card – it really ties up the checkout line.  Thank you.
Response:  Thank you for your feedback!  We are currently reviewing our Circulation policies to ensure efficient service.