Yesterday, we lost our ILS, Horizon. Today, and for the next 10 days, we will have an offline version of our new ILS, Polaris. And for the next 10 days we will not have laptops. Or a useable bibliography search function. It is fun. Not.
Patron (on the phone): I’m looking for A Brave New World.
Me: OK, our system is down, so it will take me a bit to see if we have it in the library, let me go check. I will put you on hold, but it will probably be a minute or two.
(I run and check the stacks in the various places it could be: Science Fiction, Regular Fiction, YA Fiction, Classic Paperbacks. No dice. I have to do this because, even if I took the time to check the computer to see if we ever had a copy, even if the copy showed “checked out” it could have been “checked in” in the meantime from yesterday to today. What are the odds you ask? Well, the next patron I dealt with was looking for Their Eyes Were Watching God, and that was “checked out” in the computer, but on the shelf when I looked.)
Me: I’m sorry sir (mind you, I’m talking to a kid), but we don’t have it in. Can you tell me how far you are willing to drive in the county to go and get the book?
Patron: Well, I’m at the corner of (the middle of nowwhere and you’ve gone to far), so close to there.
Me: Well, sir, the problem is that I can check the system to see what is available, but because our system is down, I have to call the branches to see what is actually on the shelf and have them hold it for you. So do you have a library in mind you can go to besides this one? (now, mind you, the library where I work is not anywhere near the middle of nowhere and you’ve gone too far – OK, in reality it is because there is a field in front of the library, a field on each side, and one in back – but this patron’s middle of nowhere and you’ve gone too far is not near my library’s middle of nowhere and you’ve gone too far).
Patron: Well, somewhere close to you.
Me: OK. I’m going to put you on hold again, because it is going to take me a few minutes to search the system, due to it being down (OK, I admit, that doesn’t make any sense. I admit that my ability to search anything with the system down is not something that makes sense. But, I can, because they – those computer people, them – took a picture of the system to have available for our use and patron use. But, it isn’t the same system that I normally use that makes requests just so much simpler. Really.), OK? So just bare with me.
(OK, so I search and I find one further away from where this kid is, but close to where I’m at, but that’s what he asked for, right? Right.)
Me: OK, they are showing one in library at Such and Such Branch, I am going to call there . . .
Patron: Is there one at So in So or Even Further Away Branch?
Me: Sir, I can check, but I need to have you narrow this down for me now and commit to where you’re going to drive because it is very difficult to see what branches have what items, and regardless, I will be calling the branch while you’re on hold to make sure they have it so that you do not make a pointless trip. (can you help me out buddy? please? because you are asking for A Brave New World. There are four web pages listing 10 item records for this book. Can you help me out? Narrow it down? Because I have to look at each item record to even see if the library has the item “In Library” as of yesterday, and then call. Help me out a bit, please!)
Patron: OK, Further Away Branch.
Me: OK. Give me a moment. (At this point, I’m just frustrated with the non-working system. But seriously, could you at least narrow it down?) Alright, I see that there is one at Further Away Branch (really, this is where you want to go? OK!). I am going to place you on hold while I get them to check the shelf. Give me a few minutes.
(Minutes pass in which I call Further Away Branch, verify that the book is on the shelf and have them place it on hold for the kid).
Me: Alright, the book is on hold for you at Further Away Branch, so you need to go to the Informa. . .
Day one of Polaris Migration complete. Stay tuned for the next episode: Dude, Where’s My Book?