So, I was at work today, once again enforcing rules that I don’t agree with. Three people are working in a conference room on their laptop. They need to print. They ask if they can use one of our patron computers and attach their thumb drive. No problem so far. Turns out that they don’t have a library card and we have a strictly enforced rule that you cannot, no way, no how use our computers without one. I try to use mental telepathy to encourage them to tell me they are from out of state, but they tell me they are from another suburb. Sigh. I try to morse code my own library card number to them (okay, not really) but nothing is working. There is nothing I can do. I want to tell them I think it’s a dumb rule and if there was any way that I could help them and not get in trouble, I would. I can’t say that though…because I’d get in trouble. I’m not a fan of trouble, especially when it involves me.
So, these poor people cannot print what they have been working on all morning. It’s okay, says my co-worker. They aren’t from our library district. She tells me not to feel bad. I do though. Really bad. Not just for them, but for what it does for peoples’ perceptions of libraries. Aren’t we supposed to help people?? There were empty computers. It wouldn’t have hurt anything. Will those people go back into a library if it doesn’t meet their needs? I think that libraries are at such a critical juncture in terms of perception. Why are we pushing people away?
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