Tuesday, 17 November 2009


I like libraries. I loved them as a child; being able to wander round amongst aisles and aisles of fascinating books and pick ones to take home for free!! I read avidly as a child and still adore the escapism books provide.

Unfortunately some librarians are evil minions of satan, incapable of allowing people to enjoy books. Do they think I'm going to corrupt the poor little books or something? I don't plan to involve them in book-burning or anything, I promise. Anyway, I had a bad experience with one library (well, two bad experiences actually, and I've only been in there twice), so it doesn't really surprise me how popular online book-retailers are.

Generic Online Book-Retailer:
  • Allows you to see a vast selection of potential options
  • Gives you other reader's reviews
  • Suggests other books you may like
  • Sends the books to your door and requires minimal human interaction
University Library:
  • Baffles you with a variety of options
  • Only gives information about the standard option
  • Apparently has a variety of different shelving systems (Dewey Decimal not good enough eh???)
  • Is inhabited by evil people who shout at you for being slightly confused
I've worked at the University for a few years now and never really considered getting books out (it's a lot further away than my local library and I mostly read fiction and knitting books). A little investigation showed that they had the score of some piano music I wanted to play (Metamorphosis, Philip Glass - the piece Starbuck plays in Battlestar Galactica) at the nice price of free (as opposed to about £30 online). Awesome. So, I registered with the library, looked up the information about how to get books out, great. Except of course sheet music is in some random corner of the library and not in the right place in the baffling subsection of freakish book-shelving (I like the Dewey Decimal system dammit). Eventually I found it and took it to the information desk to check out.

Unfortunately the person at the desk had no idea what she was supposed to do with sheet music. She finally found a piece of paper that I was maybe suppose to fill in, so I did. I got the sheet music home and realised she hadn't stamped the return date. No problem, I thought, it'll say on the online system! Of course, that would be too simple, no record that I have it out.... Generally it seems you get to keep books for a month so I tried to take it back after 3 weeks, just in case. Oh that it could be that simple.

I took it to the information desk and asked about the return date (you know, for future reference), the man at the desk proceeded to tell me off for not knowing the return date and said I should have remembered it from when I took it out. Given the person I dealt with was totally baffled by the concept of sheet music, she hadn't given me any indication of when to return it, she hadn't stamped the return date (there were a couple of recent return dates in it). I said this, and pointed out I had checked the online system. "Well of course it's not on the online system!" Err ok, I hadn't realised, it's the first book I've got out, I'm staff, not a student, so I didn't know. "It's not a book, it's a score!!!" Err, ok but what would the return date be for scores then? "The end of term, as always!!!!!" Err...but I don't know when the end of term is, I'm staff... He then seemed utterly baffled by the concept of wanting to return it early and found a scrap of paper and a pencil to write my name on. I think he's going to use it to hunt me down and kill me:/

Maybe I'll aim for illiteracy in future.

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