Sunday, January 25, 2009

A public library without internet

Yesterday was "my" Saturday to work (the staff rotates, I usually only have to do it once a month or so). I got to work, logged in, started doing work, and then I noticed:

No internet. Unfortunately, the problem was NOT at our end, and thus we had to wait on our provider to fix the issue.

They promised to have it fixed on by Monday afternoon.

That means that we were without internet the ENTIRE DAY. While some people do in fact visit the library to check out books, the vast majority of our patrons come for one reason and one reason only: to access the internet. Most Saturdays we have anywhere from a half an hour to an hour wait for the computers all day. Since our main draw was down, I settled in for a long, quiet day.

Oh, how wrong I was! We were ridiculously busy all day. And not just busy telling people "No, the internet is down. No, it won't be back up today" although I said that plenty. You see, while some of the people who would normally come in just for the computers turned around and left, the majority (or so it seemed) actually checked out books! And asked questions not related to computers!

I also noticed another telling fact: normally on Saturdays, I am hoarse by about 2:30. This is from yelling things like "No running in the library! We walk in the library! No, please don't spin that! That chair is meant for sitting! Gentle, please! Please don't throw books!" over and over and over and over over and over and over and over over and over and over and over over and over and over and over over and over and over and over over and over and over and over over and over and over and over.

You get the idea.

Yesterday, I didn't yell at a single child. Not once! Which is not to say that I didn't have kids running or tossing books; there were a few. But an interesting thing happened: their parents told them to stop. This doesn't normally happen because their parents are usually in the computer lab, looking at email/MySpace/whatever. Instead, they were with their kids, watching them, and, dare I say it, parenting.

Maybe I will try to convince my boss to get rid of the internet permanently...

JUST KIDDING. Not having internet sort of feels like having one of my limbs chopped off, and free internet access is a vital part of our service to the community. But still, not losing my voice was nice.

1 comment:

loquita said...

What a novel concept... parents paying attention to their children.

You need to report back in two months about how many patrons who hardly ever check out books have returned said books late. :-p I seriously have a problem with that! I am no good with deadlines. :)