Can I may be crabby, for a minute?
I really dislike being "pestered" by sales staff. I can deal with the occasional "is there anything I can help you with?" but I do not like to be interrupted 9 times by sales staff in a store the size of a 2-car garage (ahem, Bath & Body Works). Still, if I'm in no mood, I can opt to shop elsewhere.
Let me first say that I LOVE the library. I can't imagine my life without a library in it. I can spend 10 minutes in a library, and I can spend hours in a library, if I have the luxury to do so.
We have a beautiful, shiny new library in this city, and I love it too. But something new has come about with the new library: The staff walks around, and asks can they help me. Do I need any help? Is there anything I'm looking for? Am I doing ok?
No, I am NOT doing ok, I am browsing! I'm reading! I'm trying both to relax and to concentrate, and I have literally been interrupted 3 times in 15 minutes by 3 separate ... interrupters. If I wanted help, I would go to The Help Desk.
Let's talk about the cool new check-out system. There are 5 or 6 "check yourself out" stations, and 2 or 3 "if you need help, come over here" stations. I go to the "check myself out" station. Books on pad, card in slot, and out you go. Very Jetsons-y, but not quite rocket science.
This evening I checked out 5 books, 3 of which had the same title, but different subtitles (Volumes I, II, III).
I had confirmed 3 of the books, and while setting up the last 2, for some reason, a staff member raced over to "assist" me. He hadn't noticed the duplicate titles, and began mistakenly instructing me on which books were checked out.
He then grabbed all of my books, hellbent on fixing the—until then— nonexistent problem. He replaced books that I'd already checked out, causing the monitor to flash large red "danger" signs at me, and exclaimed to himself "why am I so confused?" He then fixed the chaos by voiding out my transaction altogether, and checking my books back out for me. One. by. one.
I'm sure glad I went to the self-checkout lane.
This is pretty much par for the course for all of my library visits these days, and I felt kind of bummed to realize, for the first time tonight, that the library isn't as enjoyable to me as it once was. The sense of "sanctuary" has disappeared, with the constant assistance, interrupting, and intervening.
When I was a kid, you could browse the library for hours, and hole up in a corner, and no one would say a word to you until closing was announced, and we liked it, barefoot and uphill both ways.
Ah-ha. Perhaps I am just getting older, and my vision of a library goes the way of the horse and buggy.
Well. I can't opt to shop elsewhere, so I guess I'll adapt.
Can I at least get one of these?