Monday, March 12, 2007

We Be Jammin'!!!!!!

Well, as of this morning, my boss & other superiors have put myself & my fellow pages in a tough situation. Some of us had as little as 1 day's notice. The decision was made to shut down the check-in/check-out computers for a total of 4 days to upload some new materials.

So, starting this morning, we will be checking materials out to patrons manually (hand-writing all numbers on pre-printed forms, to be hand-entered at a later date by the circulation assistants), but will not be able to check books in, in any manner. For the next 4 days, we do not have ANY new materials to shelve, and we will be piling incoming books on the work-room table, to be checked in Friday, Saturday, and as long after that as it takes to process them. This will likely back us up for weeks, overloading us with check-ins & shelving till the end of March at the VERY least, possibly even backing us up well into April (it's happened before, not for this reason, though).

The idiotic part is not really that the computers are being shut down for that amount of time. The horrid part is that books have been checked out & stamped with due dates during this week that we'll be shut down. So, these books are STILL going to come up due, without a way for us to get them off the patron's records. That means that when we finally get computer capabilities back, these books will be overdue & continue being overdue until we work our way through the bus-load of books that are going to pile up on us this week. That's unfortunate for the patrons, because once our computers DO come back online (and they'll be able to see this for themselves, by checking their own accounts at home when the computers are back & running) they'll see that the books they turned in during this week are now days, or even weeks overdue.

And we're going to run out of video games & DVDs VERY quickly, being unable to check back in the media that is coming back. Those usually have a VERY quick turn-over rate; often coming back, getting shelved, and going back out in the same day. Without that turn-over, we're going to run out of DVDs by Tuesday evening, most likely. Wednesday mid-morning probably at the latest. That means pissed patrons who can't check-out that next volume of StarTrek or McGuiver or Poirrot as quickly as they usually can. And again, it could have been mostly avoided if we'd given the patrons the heads-up. MOST patrons are a bit annoyed by a delay or disruption of the norm, but they're accomodating if they've got advance warning. Without that advance warning, they start suspecting that we're deliberately holding out on them, or screwing them over. I've seen it happen. Most people are mostly pleasant when know in advance that things will be disrupted. By & large, they're not-NEARLY-so-pleasant when there's no advance warning.

That's unfortunate for us, as well, because it makes us look poorly managed and slow.

The real truth is that we could have been warned a couple of weeks in advance that this was coming (it's to download new materials, not because of some flub-up in the computer system). We could have prolonged check-out-dates on items that would be due this week. We could have given patrons a heads-up that we would be slowed this week by computer maintenance, and that books brought in would not be checked in, in a timely fashion. And we could have voluntarily shut-down internet access for that length of time. It's a hard-ship to patrons, granted, but it'll be a HUGE hardship to US, seeing as patrons are going to come in & expect to find things business-as-usual, only to face longer lines, slower managing of materials, and overdues that shouldn't be overdue.

On top of that, it's spring break. Which means parents bringing in lots of children all at around the same time, for our spring-break crafts & activities. All those families are likely to check-out their requisite basketfuls of books. And there will be even longer lines.

I guess what I hate the most is the dishonesty. I'm not a perfectly honest person, but I don't see the point in not telling people what's up, as a rule. I don't think other people are terribly stupid, and when I'm instructed to lie to them, either deliberately ("oh, that little beep? That's nothing important." when it's really a claim's returned that's STILL on their card.) or by omission. It's annoying to be told by my bosses that I must be deliberately dishonest, when it would have been easier on all of us to be honest & upright about everything in the first place. If we had been honest that this was coming up a couple of weeks ago, many of the snags & snarls we'll see this week could have been avoided.

*sigh* Above & beyond the long check-out lines, the staggering stacks of books, and the disgruntled patrons, we've got maybe 1 day's worth of books to be shelved. The work-room shelves are only about 1/2 full of books to be put out. That means that tomorrow (Tuesday) through Thursday closing will be filled with shelf-reading, shelf-reading and MORE shelf-reading. Not a fun prospect. Granted it's an activity that must be done, but it's best done in shorter spurts. After about an hour, one's eyes start crossing, and one loses track of which book one was on more frequently. Now, today is MY longest day at work (I work 8 hours with a 1 hour lunch break and 2 fifteen minute breaks), where as the rest of my days at work this week will be no more than 6 hours (1/2 hour lunch break included). On the other hand, I've got 3 coworkers that start work tomorrow, facing the likely prospect of 3 of their 5 work-days being filled with NOTHING but 7 hours of shelf-reading and a 1-hour desk shift. The last 2 days of THEIR workweek will be doing probably nothing but desk & check-IN of all those stagnating books.

*sigh* I HATE, HATE, HATE being put in this position. MOST of the time I love my job. I'm not looking forward to it this week, though.

Have a Blessed Day!


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I'm so sorry Kati. That sounds like such a pain in the ass.

Chucky said...

Ahhh just quit! or not ;)

Yeah more power to you. I hate being stuck doing the same thing all day long.

That might be the reason I killed an hour at work by driving around on the clock :o (shhhh...don't tell anyone)

Good luck with the books. You know, you could always just tell the people the truth, maybe not the whole truth.

I don't think you'd get fired for telling the truth. But what do I know.

Kris said...

Poor Kati... Hang in there... My co-worker Julie has been out sick this week... so I've been picking up some of her stuff... yesterday was another 10 hour day, today was only 8.5. Wish I got paid for all the hours I worked! Love you!- Mom

Kati said...

Thanks Mom, Whim, & Chucky!!! It's nice to be able to rant here, knowing I really can't at work.

Mom, keeping my fingers crossed that you get one of those jobs you've applied for. Love ya!