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Gail Seidenfrau's blog

More Than Just a Number

     Did you know over 23,000 of our residents have library cards?  We issue over 100 cards new cards a month; and in September known in library land as “card sign up month” and we traditionally sign up over 150 new members.  For several years the total number of members hovered at about 22,000, as people moved and new residents joined our community.  This year has seen a real increase in our membership; even with the growing popularity of eBooks people are more aware of the value, variety and vastness of our library’s collection.

     Some of you like to chat with us and we enjoy your comments as you use the Self-Checkouts or come up to the desk.  I was happy to tell the ‘speculative fiction’ librarian that a young man from another town said we had the best Sci-Fi collection in the county.  Another person from one of the county’s smaller libraries told me how much she loved the playaways and came here because of the depth of our collection.

Be Amazed in 2011

Did you make any New Year Resolutions for 2011?  It seems the focus is on “Best of…” lists rather than on making resolutions for the coming year.  Maybe it’s because we know what happens even to the best of intentions come February.  The Circulation Department is going to take up the challenge.  We’ve always tried to deliver the kind of service you expect.  Our resolution for 2011 is to step it up a notch and exceed your expectations.  Let us know when we do something right, but just as important we need to know when we fall short.  It is our best learning tool. 

You Said It!

  Along with a receipt the self checkouts generated the following remarks from our customers:                                           

   "Cool!"  -  the comment heard most often

   "That was easy."  -  Everyone over 55

   "Just like Home Depot"  -  not exactly

   "Are you going to lose your job?"  - NO!

   "Nothing happened"  -  the publisher's barcode was scanned instead of the library's barcode

   "Let me see if I remember how."  - sometimes yes, sometimes no

   "I don't need the receipt.”  -   press the button anyway to close your account

   “I’ll do it”  -  every child under 5

   Best moments:  the smiles on the little one’s faces when they hear the dinging – makes my day every time.

Holding Patterns

Don’t miss another book being held because of a business trip or vacation.  Did you know you can suspend the material on your request list, not lose your place in the queue and select the date you wish to reactivate the list?  This ability not only avoids missed requests but also allows you to have some control over when your requests arrive.  This might offset the ‘when it rains it pours’ lament.  I set my fiction titles a week or so apart, but that’s just me.

It’s really easy, and now that you’re on our website you’re halfway there.   Go up to ‘My Account,’ click on ‘Holds Requests’ then click in the little box to the left of the title(s) you want to suspend; if you’re going away select all the titles.  Then choose the date to reactivate, and click on Change Status.  Circulation staff can do it for you at the library or call (ext 124) and we’ll do it or walk you through the process.

It's a Wrap!

In use since March, our remodeled Circulation Department still surprises many customers who use the library infrequently.  Now reserved material pick-up is self-service.  Items are wrapped for privacy and requests are shelved alphabetically by your last name.  We include the first three letters of your first name to differentiate those with the same last name.  There isn’t room to print your full first name and we won’t use any personal information relating to your account number.  You’ll quickly become familiar with the general area where your books are located.  Take it to one of our express self checkouts for fast service.  We are so pleased that many of you use the machines which then make it possible for staff to complete other circulation tasks or resolve customer concerns.

The self checkout might direct you to the Circulation Desk if you have overdue material, if your card needs to be updated (a yearly event), if fees are above allowed thresholds or if the hold is not in your name.   For questions about your account please speak to a staff member.

THE SMALLEST BOOKSTORE

Did you miss it?  Our 'for sale' books have new digs.  The 'Smallest Bookstore' is located in the entrance vestibule where the telephone used to be.  Pocketbooks (25 cents) are always convenient when vacationing especially if you fly.  Adult hardcover books are $1.00, children's just 50 cents. Staff restocks the shelves daily, so stop by, peruse the titles and see if you find something to add to your collection.  The Circulation staff will help with any questions.

REMEMBER WHEN

The other day a colleague and I, with a combined total of 40 years at the New City Library, most of it in the Circulation Department, were being questioned by an eager “newhi” (new hire). She was curious about some of the changes we experienced over the years. Do you remember the IBM cards that we used in the eighties? We still get returns with those cards. Just to let you know, we probably don’t want those books back. Computers were introduced in the library in 1991, and we began hand-stamping due dates on index cards. I wonder who thought this was an improvement! We had four different colors to signify the different loan periods in use at the time. Yes, I know some of you still miss them. And the lines! Sometimes, especially after school and on weekends, they would stretch into what is now the comfortable seating area; there were only two terminals at the desk. Our newly renovated Circulation desk has five checkouts, two of which are express self-checks. In the early '90s, all the patron reserves were on a desktop carousel. We’d have about 30-40 reserves at a time.

What's in a Name?

Some things really happen by coincidence but I’m beginning to wonder if something else is afoot.    The last six books I read all have an important character named Henry.   The titles include Breathless (Dean Koontz), Edgar Sawtelle (Wroblewski) and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Ford).  Then I started Olive Kitteridge (Strout) and in the very first section there are two Henrys!  It’s a great name, the name of kings, synonymous with power and strength.  Its popularity is on the rise here and in Europe, but 7 books in a row?   So far no Henrys in my current book, Safe from the Neighbors.

NEW SERVICES - SUCCESS!

We are amazed and gratified at the resounding acceptance of our new circulation desk and new hold system, the self- checkout machines and in-house book return.  Staff has been available to introduce the new features and will continue to work with you.  Now that you've gotten the hang of checking out there are other features on the self checkout, including renewing and the ability to review your account.  The next time you visit take note of the video display that was installed today. 

Library usage is increasing and staff members are busier than ever working to meet your needs.  Thanks for your patience and support.

Coming Soon...Innovations in Customer Service

Exciting times are ahead for the Circulation Department and our customers upon completion of the lobby and circulation desk renovation project in February. We will be able to offer a variety of new services that are convenient, ensure privacy and minimize the time you spend checking out.  We invite you to try our new self-service checkout machines located at the desk.  Staff will be available to guide you through the process.  Hold books will be within easy reach, find your reserve(s) then use express checkout out or a staffed station.

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