Monday, December 6, 2010

And another thing: why don't THE BOOKS come to ME?

I went down to campus today to retrieve the text I'm using for my course next term (but more on that another time). As long as I was on campus, I figured, I might as well go to the library and take out a book I've been meaning to get. ETA of side-trip: five minutes. Actual time expended: 30-40 minutes. Effort level: orange. Patience: 0.

Clearly, something has gone wrong here. To determine what, let's discuss the event not in chronological sequence, but in order of whom I blame most for the mishap. And if you have half as much fun piecing it all together as I did writing it, then I had twice as much fun writing it as you did piecing it together. And that's just one of the tautologies we'll discuss today!

--Myself. First, for naively not obtaining the appropriate Library of Congress listing before even heading into the library. Second, for being equally naive in assuming that this listing would be easy to obtain while in the library. Third, for making an error in eventually writing said listing, forcing me to repeat the whole process over again. And finally, for choosing today of all days to put the winter liner into my coat, transforming a climb of high tedium and low discomfort and effort to high tedium, high discomfort and middling effort.

--Whoever designed the elevators at this library. There's an indicator of which floor the library is on for the main floor, and only the man floor. That means that waiting for the elevator on any other floor is less a matter of patience and more a matter of faith that the doors will, at some point, open. Having little faith in elevator gods, my own lack of patience (which means this perhaps should be under the previous entry) meant a few extra stairs were walked on top of the number called for by the following two entries.

--The students. All I wanted was to use a computer for a thirty second search. But every computer was occupied, on floor after floor, forcing me to go up five flights looking in vain for that one unoccupied terminal. Now, I wouldn't have been so upset if the students were legitimately working. But for every student doing actual work, there were two checking their facebook, or surfing youtube, or sleeping at the computer, or ignoring the screen in front of them entirely while they worked on their laptops. And the students in the actual study carrells weren't any better--a given sample of half a dozen had two working, one gone to get snacks, one texting, one surfing the net, and one sleeping again. Kids today, I tell you.

--The way this library's computer system is set up. But even that, as annoying as it was, wasn't the real target of my ire. I actually like that the computers in the library are open to all at this university; it makes a far more egalitarian statement than, say, the University of Toronto library, which not only requires you to be a student to use the computers, but to enter the library in the first place. And I'll admit it, if I'm working on a computer for a prolonged period, I have my own tendency to check my email, go to a favorite site, or, type up a blogpost. (Today's work is going great, btw. Just.... just great. Stellar.) What really bugs me is that there's no computers reserved solely for catalog searches in addition to the other computers. Even most public libraries have managed to get one of each by this point; it's somewhat ridiculous that my university's main library can't even reach that standard. And because of this, above all the other reasons, I had to walk ten flights of stairs and spend half an hour to get a chance to do a thirty-second search and 5 minute retrieval. (And another thirty minutes to type it all up. It never ends, I tell you!)

And that's how you turn a one-sentence complaint into a 600+ word blog post.

Later Days.

No comments: