An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Monday, March 15, 2004

I Shall Rule Them All With An Iron Fist!

A few days back, a mom and her daughter were in to check out some books. Once daughter had her selection chosen, Mom told her to take em up to the desk to check out.

"But I don't have my card," Daughter said.

"Oh, it's all right. You don't need it here," Mom said.

Mrs. C smiled at this and politely said, "That's right. At the moment you won't need your card. But in a couple of months when we have our new computer system you will need your card to check out books."

"Whaaaat?" Mom said in a shocked tone.

Mrs. C explained that this was going to be a new requirement with the new circulation and cataloging computer system. Reason being, all the liberries in our multi-county liberry cooperative are going to be combining their patron records in order to more efficiently serve the public. This means every patron in all of those libraries will be added to one central database which all the libraries will access. So instead of us looking up a patron and seeing only those patron's in our library's database, we'll see all of the library cooperative's patrons. If your name is John Smith, it will be vital to have your card so that your books don't get stuck on some other John Smith's patron record and so that guy's don't get stuck on yours.

Another choice feature of this new collective database is that it will be helpful in keeping track and punishing deadbeat patrons (*cough*cough*cough*THE FAGINS*COUGH*!) At the moment, if a deadbeat patron wants to fill up their card with books at our library, they can turn around and go down the road to Town C's library and fill up there too. When we get the new system, that deadbeat patron will be in for a surprise as it's all gonna be one record. And when their books are overdue by several weeks/months/years/decades they'll also find that they won't be able to simply shun one library and continue checking books out at the others cause it's, all together now, one big happy database.

And when super-deadbeats like Kammy K abuse their interlibrary loan privilages, they'll find they're blocked at not only their local library... but ALL REGIONAL LIBRARIES TOO! Bwahahahahaha!

In fact, the only major drawback to this (other than the almost certainly inevitable fact that this system will NOT work properly for the first several weeks/months/years/decades after it goes online) is that we're going to have to issue new cards to all of our patrons. On the upside of that, we're not going to reissue cards to everyone in our current database, in the same manner we had to rebarcode every book in our collection last summer. Instead, we'll just do it one at a time for the folks who regularly come in, building a new patron database from the ground up. Their cards will be good at all libraries in our cooperative, so they'll only have to get one and won't have to keep being entered into everyone else's.

I'm sure there are going to be intense headaches to follow all this, because nothing this complicated can go smoothly. But hopefully, the pluses will outweigh the many minuses I foresee.

And I can rule them all with an iron fist.

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