Saturday, January 20, 2007

Successful Saturday: Bursting at the seams or do we need to start bouncing people

I have a suggestion box at the circulation desk. It allows people to write suggestions for improvements, complain, or complement. They have ranged from wanting the bathrooms to be unlocked, to requests for particular collections. The ones I have received the most lately are these:

"You need more computers"

"You need more books"

"You need to be open longer"

"It is too noisy in here"

These are what I would deem to be good complaints. All of our usage in the last year has received double digit increases and because of that increased use, there is not enough to go around. We have doubled computer access, but it is not enough. We have used impact fees to increase the collection, but it is not enough and not fast enough. (We don't even have enough room for all of our holds on our hold shelf.) We have not increased hours, but the walk-in business has increased intensely. We will have 1000 people in the building each day, as compared to a year ago where 750 was busy.

What I have come to realize is that you can continue to provide great services and get bigger and better, but it is never enough. Once you increase that level of service, there are more people using that service. I always love the "too noisy" complaint. Ever have 100 or 1000 people in a room at the same time, you try to keep it quiet. I always love the complaint about not enough computers, "Is there anywhere else I can go to get access?" No, we are the only game in town.

What I love about a community really using their library and embracing it is how it helps that community exponentially. The residents are more intelligent, curiosity is satisfied, and the public is entertained. I especially love storytime. Every week these parents come out with their children and overrun the place. Kids are grabbing their weekly books and movies and will come back next week to do the same thing. It is just immeasurable the good libraries do for their communities. The more you tell people, the more people you have passionate about libraries, and the community only gets better.

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