Tompkins County Public Library

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Patron Comment October and November 2015

Comment:  It would be nice if there was a placard in non-fiction that was a guide to what belonged in each section of the Dewey Decimal system.
Response:  Thank you for taking the time to browse our collection and to submit your feedback.  We are consistently working to make our collection as accessible as possible, and comments like yours help us to develop policies and procedures which make that accessibility possible.  Your suggestion will be shared with our Information and Learning Services Department for consideration.
Comment:  Such a great Community Read book this year (much better than last year). Keep doing that!
Response:  We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed this year’s Community Read of “Slaughterhouse-Five,” by Kurt Vonnegut.  While we were deeply saddened to learn that our Community Read partner, Cornell University’s New Student Reading Project will not continue in further academic years, we are commitment to providing ongoing opportunities for our patrons to share the bond of reading a common title, and are currently exploring exciting options for next year.
Comment:  There is such a dearth of parking for library patrons, and what little there is, is often cordoned off for construction.  I suggest a drive-up book/video return in one of the spots on Green Street.  Many times, all I want to do is return materials on time, but alas, no parking is available!
Response:  We understand and echo your concerns about library parking.  Parking remains a challenge for TCPL and all of downtown Ithaca.  If we are to be able to meet patron needs and provide accessibility for library users of every age and every stage in our current space, we will need to pursue creative solutions like yours.  Please know that we are constantly exploring ideas like this one and are committed to making each patron experience a positive one.  Thank you for sharing this inspired idea!
Comment:  The library is too noisy.  I asked Mormons who were inside preaching to go outside to talk and was told that “this library is for talking.”
Response:  Thank you so much for sharing your concerns.  While we do recognize that the way people are using their libraries is changing, and that we are vibrant, vital, bustling parts of the communities we serve, we also want to make sure that our patrons can rely on the library to offer space for personal reflection, quiet reading and study.  To that end, we have a designated quiet space, The Ezra Cornell Reading Room, which offers a comfortable, calm space for individuals. And, we encourage you to share future concerns regarding noise with a library staff member during your visit.
Comment:  Friends of the Library tote bags should be available to purchase with a credit or debit card.
Response:  Thanks for your suggestion.  The Friends of the Library bags are a much-loved holder of books, groceries and newspapers for hundreds in our community, and we are delighted to be able to offer them for purchase at TCPL.  The cash-only payment system was implemented to ensure that the funds from bag sales go directly to The Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library, without the necessity for additional accounting measures.  However, we will continue to explore additional options for making this possible in the future, because we love to see our patrons proudly support the Friends and their library!
Comment:  Too many screens!  The one above the toys near the Circulation Desk is especially annoying.  I don’t bring my daughter here to watch TV.

Response:  We’re sorry that you don’t enjoy our promotional screens. They are a beloved tool for many patrons looking to learn about upcoming programs, new additions to our collection and special library events, and unlike TV, there are no commercials!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Patron Comments September 2015

Comment:  I was walking along the gallery to the TCPL entrance today and found and picked up some trash to throw away, but there was no trash receptacle.  Can one be put there or outside of the entrance to the library?
Response:  Thank you so much for helping to keep our library and community beautiful and litter-free!  We have submitted your request to our Facilities team and hope to have a receptacle added in the near future.  In the meantime, please visit the east side of our building to check out our new collaboration with Tompkins County Solid Waste—a public space recycling receptacle.
Comment:  Someone steals the art section of The New York Times.  Every time I want to do the crossword puzzle, it is missing.
Response:  We are eight-letter word for shocked to learn that someone has been seven-letter word for raising to a higher level or position and are deeply five-letter word for apologetic.  The Times’ Art section has long been a patron favorite, and we will do our best to more closely monitor our periodical section to ensure that it is available for continued enjoyment.
Comment:  All of you, and the Library Rocks!  Keep Going!
Response:  Thank you so much!  We are the product of an amazingly supportive community who has championed their public library for 150 years, and with your continued support, we hope to be here for 150 more!
Comment:  Your air conditioning is too cold!
Response:  Thanks for sharing your feedback.  TCPL is a designated community “cool down” location, so we try to maintain a comfortably-cool temperature for patrons who need some respite from the summer sun.  Since our weather is notoriously unpredictable, the room temperature in the library can vary slightly from day to day.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and hope you will visit us again soon.
Comment:  The new automatic renewal is very much appreciated.  Thank you!
Response:  We’re glad to hear that you are enjoying our automatic renewal service.  It is just one of the ways TCPL works to making the library easily-accessible and is a wonderful tool for reducing fines and late fees for our valued patrons.
Comment:  The art exhibit is not appropriate for a public place with many children.  I understand it is a dark message, but for a child-centered location it is too disturbing,
Response:  Thanks for sharing your feedback about our “Rhino Toys” exhibit.  Much conversation and planning went into our decision to feature “Rhino Toys” at TCPL.  While we believe that the library has an obligation to support and feature works that might otherwise be censored or challenged and to serve as a safe space for community conversations on sensitive and controversial topics, we did take steps to make the exhibit less accessible to our young patrons, including moving our exhibit cases from their usual home near the entrance of our Youth Services Department.   We are proud to be able to offer our patrons free access to museum-quality art exhibits, and we hope you will continue to explore the outstanding shows we have planned for the remainder of 2015.
Comment:  The “Rhino Toys” exhibit is superb and should be on display in all of our schools!  Thank you for your courage.
Response:  We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed “Rhino Toys” and proud to be able to offer free access to thought-provoking exhibits for our entire community.  “Rhino Toys” artist, Rich Tomasello is a public school art teacher in the Buffalo area, and his work has been displayed throughout Western NY and in the New York City region.  It is continuing to gain attention, and we are confident that it will be exhibited widely in the months to come.
Comment:  I have been meaning to tell someone that the huge planters along the side of the library have been beautiful all spring and summer.  Thank you for doing such lovely plantings and maintaining them so well all through this hot summer.
Response:  Thanks for our gorgeous “Library Gardens” goes to an outstanding group of volunteers under the direction of Volunteer Coordinator Yvette Rubio.  They are truly a beautiful addition to our outstanding library, and we are delighted that you have enjoyed them!
Comment:  Please inform customers in the first email that books are on-hold and cannot be renewed.  Currently, it just says “potential renewal.”
Response:  Thank you for your feedback about our new automatic renewal service.  This service is truly “automatic,” as are its related email responses.  As we become more familiar with the product, we hope to use feedback from patrons like you to help the providing vendor make it even more user-friendly. 
Comment:  I have an idea—purchase art from local artists for patrons to rent for one to two weeks.
Response:  We love the creative ideas of our patrons!  Did you know that several years ago, TCPL actually loaned prints of famous art pieces?  We love the idea of celebrating our local artists with a service like this and are always looking at ways to enhance our collection for our patrons.  Most recently, we have added tools to measure electricity usage, household tool kits, umbrellas and tote bags to our offerings.  Thanks for your inspired idea and for recognizing that libraries offer more than just books.
Comment:  You should have a teen lock-in with movies and food.
Response:  Thanks for sharing your idea.  TCPL has an ever-evolving selection of programs for young adult patrons, and our Campaign for a 21st Century Library is well on its way to helping us build a unique space for teens to enjoy books, explore technology and connect with friends through programs like this.  Please visit for a current list of library programs for teens.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Patron Comments July 2015

Comment:  Is there a way to turn off the auto-renew feature?  I would prefer to choose this feature (or not) on my own?
Response:  Thank you for your inquiry regarding our new auto-renewal feature.  This feature has been extremely popular with our patrons, and we are excited to be able to offer a tool for reducing account fines and fees.  While there is no formal way for patrons to opt-out of auto-renewal, returning borrowed items on or before their original due date will ensure that the feature is not activated.

Comment:  Shelf-reading is needed!  Today, looking for books, one was supposed to be in but was not where near where it was supposed to be (I didn’t find it).  Four different books were misshelved—724s were in 729s, for instance.
Response:  We’re so sorry to hear that you had trouble locating items within our collection.  As you can imagine, with the volume of titles circulating and the number of people browsing our stacks each day, keeping books in their home-spot can be a challenge.  We are fortunate to have a number of wonderful volunteers who help with shelf-reading, so if you encounter a specific section that requires attention, please let our Circulation staff know, so that we can make it a priority.  Thank you for your message, we are always grateful for feedback that enables us to better meet the needs of our patrons.

Comment:  You need to staff Saturday morning Reading/Storytimes year-round.  I think it’s needed and a great thing for moms to do with their babies.
Response:  We’re delighted to hear that you enjoy our Saturday morning storytimes.  Our Youth Services staff puts a tremendous amount of care and attention into ensuring that we are offering opportunities for families to connect with books and literature through fun-filled programs.  While our regular storytime offerings are suspended during the summer months to allow our Youth Services team to focus on our popular Summer Reading programs, our family event offerings are plentiful.  Please visit,, for a complete schedule of programs.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Patron Comments May and June 2015

Comment:  I would love to buy your new TCPL tee shirt.
Response:  We're glad to hear that you like our new tee shirts.  We're pretty proud of them, too!  It is our sincere hope that sometime in the near future we will be able to offer an assortment of TCPL-logo items for sale within the Library, so that our fantastic patrons can showcase their love for the library.

Comment:  Please purchase more PS3 games, create a blu-ray section and order new CDs that work and aren't scratched.
Response:  One of the best things about libraries is that we offer something for everyone. We aren't just about books.  We're about promoting access to literature, entertainment and informational resources through a multitude of platforms.  Since these platforms are constantly evolving, it sometimes takes us a bit of time to build large collections, but, please know that we are always working to grow our collections and make finding our patrons' next favorite film, game or book easier.  In the meantime, please bring any scratched games, DVDs or CDs to our attention, so that we can have them repaired or replaced.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Patron Comments April 2015

Comment:  Thank you so much for your wonderful video suggestions.  You have opened my mind to so many beautiful films! I am deeply grateful.  PS--try "Me and You and Everyone We Know."
Response: We're so glad that you are enjoying our DVD displays. Credit for the displays and our tremendous video collection goes to Tom Burns.  Tom works diligently to ensure that our patrons can enjoy a diverse collection and his displays are constantly updated due to their popularity.  PS--thanks for the film suggestion!

Comment:  Could we please have our children's library back?  Instead of computers, toys, crying, yelling and fighting. Whatever happened to enjoying a book with one's children?
Response:  Our Youth Services Department has certainly evolved into one of the most vibrant and active areas of the Library.  While we will always have space in the Library for quiet reading and reflection, new research and trends have shown that access to early learning computer stations and educational toys help young readers establish a lifelong love of learning and literacy.  As always, if you aren't happy with your Library experience, please visit one of our service desks, and we will do all that we can to meet your needs.

Comment: {You need a} drive-through book drop off, maybe through where the parking garage is off of Cayuga Street.
Response:  We agree!  A drive-through book drop would be wonderful.  Unfortunately, the cost of adding this service is prohibitive at this time, but this is an ongoing item on our wishlist.

Comment:  Is there a way to reuse guest card?
Response:  Libraries are one of our community's best examples of sustainability, and our guest cards are no exception.  Once you are done using the card, simply hand it back in at our Circulation Desk.

Comment:  It seems that if I place an item on hold, once the items is returned to the library, I cannot cancel that hold.  This leaves me with two options:  inconvenience myself by physically coming to the library so that I can check out the item and immediately return it, or prevent others who might be interested from picking up the items while I wait for the hold to expire and incur a fine.  I am a huge fan of TCPL, but this policy is overly-bureaucratic.  Please enable remote hold cancellations.
Response:  We are so sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused. Should you decide that you don't want an item for which you have placed a hold prior to it being shipped to TCPL, you can cancel the hold online or over the phone free of charge.  Once the item is shipped, you can still call us to cancel the hold and release the item for the next person on the hold list, however, a $1 fee may be assessed to your account.  The fee for not picking up an item replaces our previous policy of charging 50 cents for each hold and was developed in order to make holds more accessible for all patrons.  Should you have any additional questions about this policy, please contact our Access and Circulation Department.

Comment:  I am a big Ella Fitzgerald fan and have at least dozen of her CDs.  I found one in TCPL's collection called "The Intimate Ella" that I had never heard before--a beautiful collection of ballads.  I felt like I was discovering her music all over again.  One of the many reasons I love the Tompkins County Public Library!  I walk in the door and feel like a kid in a candy store.
Response:  We're so glad that you were able to find such a gem in our CD collection!  Libraries truly are the calorie-free candy stores for kids of all ages--so many sweet treats, zero guilt!  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Patron Comments March 2015

Comment:  The children's section of the library is no longer a quiet place.  Why not move toys, etc., to the big activity room by the children's restrooms.
Response: You are absolutely right!  The quiet Youth Services Area of the past has been replaced by a vibrant, energized area for children and young adults to develop a love of literacy and learning through reading, programming and hands-on exploration.  These changes are the result of emerging research that shows that children connect with libraries and literacy differently than adults and require different tools for learning--including access to educational toys and early learning computers. Our decision to create a more dynamic children's area, should not come at the expense of your library experience, however.  Please know that if you are looking for an area for quiet reading or reflection, our Ezra Cornell Reading Room and our study rooms in the adult and children's areas are always available for patron use.

Comment:  Why are there multiple copies of cat encyclopedias but only two-three in the children's section now with one of them for reference use only.
Response:  Thanks for your question.  We're always happy to learn that so many of our patrons agree that the best things in life are books and animals! We work hard to ensure that our collection includes up-to-date tools for research and entertainment purposes, which is why we try to keep one copy of our encyclopedia's available at all times for reference and other copies available to check out.  Should you have recommendations for additional titles or need information about a specific book in our collection, please visit our Youth Services Reference Desk.

Comment:  Access to computers must be extended.  I am homeless and need more than one hour to complete applications.  One hour just isn't enough.
Response:  Thanks so much for taking the time to share your concerns with us.  We're sorry to hear about your current housing situation but glad that you are using the Library's resources to help in your job search.  Demand for our public internet stations is exceptionally high--we have people lined up outside each and every day waiting for us to open the doors so that they can use our computers--so, we established the one-hour time limit as a way to ensure that we can meet patron demand.  We always do our best to provide special accommodations, however.  So, next time you visit, please share your concerns with one of our librarians.

Comment:  During recent visits, I have been appalled at the smell of some of the books.  They smell so strongly of cigarette smoke that they are virtually unreadable. You should make a rule that people cannot smoke when borrowing library books.
Response:  We're sorry to hear about your experience. Books in our collection are heavily circulated--with some books being on-hold continuously for months before finding a spot on our shelves.  While we can't regulate how patrons choose to enjoy the titles we borrow, we do work hard to ensure that each of the books in our collection is well-maintained.  The next time  you encounter this problem, please inform a library staff member so that we can work to remedy the issue before returning the book to our collection.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Patron Comments December 2014 and January 2015

Comment:  Please get the recording of Leslie Daniels' "Cleaning Nabokov's House."  There are two in the system but none here.
Response:  Isn't Leslie Daniels wonderful?  She is a gracious friend of the Library, and we love her work.  Both of the sound recordings in the Finger Lakes Library System are currently available to borrow through inter-library loan.  Access the catalog online or contact our Circulation Desk for more information.

Comment:  We need more permaculture books, such as "Edible Forest Gardens" by Jacke and "Integrated Forest Gardening" by Weiseman.
Response:  Permaculture is gaining momentum throughout the country and here in Ithaca. Fortunately, peer libraries within the Finger Lakes Library System have purchased copies of both of these titles to help aid your research. Visit our online catalog or stop by one of our service desks to request a copy through inter-library loan.

Comment:  Stop monitoring adult internet.
Response:  Thank you so much for sharing your feedback about our public internet stations.  One of the best things about public libraries is our commitment to patron privacy, the other best thing is our commitment to the public itself.  From time to time, our staff members may observe a patron viewing material on one of our computers that might not be appropriate for all members of our public and ask that it not be viewed. Please know that we support your ability to view any websites you choose, but we have an obligation to ensure that materials being looked at in a space as diverse as ours is suitable for unintended viewers.

Comment:  Coat hook?  Why not?
Response:  Thanks for braving the elements to visit TCPL. Bundle up this winter, and feel free to hang your coat on the rack outside of our BorgWarner Community Room.

Comment:  I tried to find a reference person yesterday, but there was no one at the desk. No one at Circulation or the security guard could help me find someone.  It is highly inconvenient to run around looking for someone.  Someone should always be there.
Reponse:  We're sorry to hear that you were inconvenienced in this way.  Our Reference Desks are fully staffed during regular library hours,  because we know how important these services are.  The staff member was likely helping another patron locate an item, which can sometimes take a bit longer than we had planned.  In the future, please know that the team at our Youth Services Reference Desk would be happy to answer your questions.

Comment:  I would love to listen to "The Wise Man's Fear" and "The Name of the Wind" on audiobook.  
Response:  Unfortunately, we couldn't locate "The Wise Man's Fear" in our catalog, but we are excited to announce that you can now borrow an audio recording of "The Name of the Wind" through our free OverDrive Digital Download Service.  Contact our Reference Desk to find out more about OverDrive.

Comment:  When there are two or more clerks checking out books, why not designate (by a sign) one of them to handle problems or time-consuming customer issues.  Long lines with every clerk handing five or ten-minute customerissues while everyone else waits to check out items or pick up a hold makes no sense.  This has always been a problem here.
Response:  We're sorry to hear that you have experienced this problem at TCPL.  Our Access and Circulation Services team are always reviewing practices and policies to ensure that our patrons receive the best possible customer service.  Your suggestion has been shared for their review.

Comment:  Patron asked for an inter-library loan and then cancelled it online the same day.  It looked like it went away, but she just discovered it is being held for her by accident.  She feels that this is a problem that should be fixed with the system.  It shouldn't look like it can be cancelled online when it can't.
Response:  Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  We will forward your feedback to the team responsible for maintaining our online catalog software for review.

Comment:  Could you have the key for {mart} carts at the security station rather than at check out where you have to wait in line.  The guard at Security could take license and give the key.
Response:  Thank you for such a thoughtful suggestion.  Our Access and Circulation Department team is always looking for ways to make the patron experience more efficient and enjoyable.  Your suggestion has been sent to the department for review.

Comment:  January is long, cold and dark.  It's the perfect month to come to the library on Sunday afternoon.
Response:  We couldn't agree more, and while we would love to be open each and every Sunday, unfortunately, available funding limits our ability to do so.  Since we are only able to be open on select Sundays, we carefully review attendance figures and trends to pick the times when we are most heavily used.  We are always hopeful that additional funding will become available, so that we can continue to provide our patrons with the access they need and deserve.  In the meantime, please mark February 1 on your calendar, as it is our first open Sunday of 2015.