RIP Horizon Pt. 2 : Dude, Where’s My Book?

So, as I was saying before, we have a new ILS being installed.  And this means that the system is down.  One of the many consequences of this is that we cannot view patron record status and, therefore, cannot view information about hold request statuses.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me explain.

When you need a book, and are a patron, you can request it to be delivered to you if the branch where you’re at doesn’t have it in or if there are no copies available at the moment because they are all checked out or are “on order.”  This is called placing a hold.  An automated system will call you on the phone when your item (book, DVD, CD, etc.) arrives at the location where you sent it to when the hold was placed. 

With the system down, we can’t place holds, we can’t see which holds were placed, and we can’t verify where holds are (in transit from another branch, here at the library, etc.).  So if you’re looking for that book you ordered, I can’t help you.  Or can I?

Patron:           They called me that my book is here.

OK:                 OK.  Our system is down . . .

Patron:            Yeah, they (really, this word, this “they” covers all kinds of sins, doesn’t it?  I love to talk about the Universal “They and Them” who run the shows versus the “they and them” over there which are to now blame for your problem) told me that over there and sent me here.  Where is my book? 

Me:                Well, if you received a phone call, then it should be on the hold shelf behind you.  (indicating)  See the books with the white covers?  Just look for the first three letters of your last name and the last four digits of your library card.

Patron:             Where?

Me:                  Behind you (now, mind you, why they sent her/im over to me is beyond me because s/he had to PASS the hold shelf to get to me.  but I digress.  again).  On the shelf behind you, with the white papers.  Just go over there and look for your last name – the first three letters – and the last for numbers in your library card (notice that as time progresses, I make the language simpler.  one might wonder why I don’t just start out with everything simpler?  well, that’s because I don’t like the faces or comments I get from those that don’t want things simpler.  they know who they are.).

(s/he proceeds to walk over to the shelf s/he just passed by to get to me to look to see if her/is book is there.  It’s not.  I know this, because s/he is walking be towards me)

Patron:          It wasn’t there.  I’m telling you, they called me.  Where is my book?  I spoke to someone at this desk, to get my book.  Where is it?

Me:              OK, our system is down, so I cannot check what book you ordered or where it is, but I can go in the back and see if it is back there.  Give me a minute.

(Now, I know this is a waste of time.  if s/he got a phone call, the book should be on that shelf.  because the phone calls go out the day AFTER the book gets to the library, which gives us plenty of time to get the book on the shelf.  but I go in the back anyway.  plus, as the system is down, the hold request would have been processed BEFORE the system went down, so now we’re into a window of time that is two or more days.  Needless to say, I don’t find the book. )

Me:                I’m sorry, I didn’t find the book.  Do you know the title of the book you requested?

Patron:            Writing Grants.

Me:              That was the title?

Patron:              Yes.  (Ok, really?  are you sure?  Writing Grants was the title of the book?  Ok!)

Me:                (typing this “title” in our online catalog to see what I can see about where it was two days ago when They took the picture of our system before it went down)  I’m not seeking anything with that title.   

Patron:          Well, I asked for books about grant writing.  I have to write one this weekend (of course you do).

Me:                OK, well, I cannot see which particular books you asked for, because our system is down.  Is there another branch you normally request books to go to (please let the books be there, please oh please!)?  Or sometimes request?  I can call there and see if the hold went to another library.

Patron:              Sometimes Branch Up the Road and sometimes Branch Down the Road.

Me:                  OK, let me call.

(I dial Branch Up the Road first.  The book isn’t there.)

Patron:              I spoke to someone here, and they called me (oh yeah; ticked off now)!  I need those books.

Me:                Well, let me try Branch Down the Road.

(I get on the phone with Branch Down the Road and – low and behold! – there is something on hold for the Patron there.  but it is not about grant writing)

Me:              OK, there is a book on hold at Branch Down the Road, but the item is not about grant writing.  It is a book on test taking.

Patron:          Oh yeah.  That was a book they called me about.

Me:                  (*&!(@(#*&$^@&*(!&#*(@!!!!!!!) OK, well, the item is at Branch Down the Road.

Patron:             Thank you.

Me:                   Have a good day.

Darn They!

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