more librarian at the library escapades

My boyfriend and I wanted to go to a museum this weekend so we called his local library to see what museum passes they had available. The woman on the phone told us to check the website. We did. The library uses Library Insight which I’ve used before and like decently. There were passes for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum available for Sunday. We tried to reserve them via the website’s system and kept getting an error message saying that my boyfriend’s password was wrong. I glared at him saying “You don’t have any overdue fines, do you?” He said no. We called the library and it turns out that you need to have your card “set up” by them to get museum passes via the web site. They set up his card and reserved the passes for us over the phone.

Now, getting Sunday passes involves picking them up at the library on Saturday. We headed over to the library to get the passes. When we got there, the librarian said that someone else had reserved the passes and sorry but that was how it went sometimes. We asked if she was sure that it wasn’t us who had reserved them [she had scanned my boyfriend’s card and showed no passes reserved and the passes we wanted weren’t available according to her computer] and she said she was. She was sure. I put on my politest voice possible and said that we had called and done this whole routine twenty minutes ago and how unlikely it was that someone else had reserved the passes and would she please check that the passes that she showed as reserved were not, in fact, reserved for us? I probably do not need to tell you how this story ends. The museum was delightful, marred only slightly by the fact that bad software, wonky library policies and erratic customer service nearly stood in the way of us getting them at all.

This is just a big lead up to tell you that Brian Herzog has written a nice post with Rich Boulet reviewing calendaring and room reservations software and you should go take a look at it. Maybe there’s a better alternative to the software that you use?

3 thoughts on “more librarian at the library escapades

  1. I nominate you to be the official library secret shopper – or secret patron, as it were.

    I am so sorry you went through all of this – and I hate to think how many patrons get turned away/turned off by going through the same scenario (but likely without the happy ending).

    For what it’s worth, my library’s policy is that if someone reserved a museum pass and it’s not there when they come to pick it up, we give them the cash value for the pass so they can still get the museum discount. If the fault lies with us, we eat the cost of poor customer service; if the fault lies with another patron (for not returning the pass on time), they get charged for that cost. It doesn’t happen often, but it usually keeps everyone happy and playing fair.

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