goth_is_not_emo (goth_is_not_emo) wrote in bad_service,

Library fail!

OK, so I'm writing a paper for school and I need a primary (firsthand) source on Haitian arts and culture. I go through the library's catalog, and my particular branch of the library doesn't have anything. However, the library told me when I first got my card about this awesome reserve system they have where you can order in books from other libraries in the county and get them within 2 weeks. The catalog mentions one book that fits the requirements for my paper, which is available at four locations elsewhere in the county. I go to the information desk, put the book on reserve, and she says the library will notify me when the book arrives and that it should be in in less than 2 weeks. I think this is great. I'll get the book in 2 weeks, and still have about 2 weeks after that to work on my paper. Plenty of time!

When three weeks pass and I don't hear anything, I go to the library and ask what's up. The lady at the info desk looks up my account to see the call number of the book I reserved. I can see the computer screen at this point. The status says, "Request Pending," and at all four locations, the book is listed as having been on the shelf (i.e., not checked out) for far longer than the book has been on reserve. The account also says that I'm next in line to receive a copy of the book (which means, not only has no one checked it out in all this time, no one else has put it on reserve either). The librarian calls the other branches. One branch says they'll send it out and it'll be there within a couple days.

Another week passes. I haven't found any other firsthand sources anywhere else, and I'm getting desperate. I return to the library, and the librarian at the main desk says, "Your account says you're next in line to get the book." So I go back to the info desk to see why the book still hasn't arrived a month after I put it on reserve. She calls up the other branches that have copies of the book. Three of them, including the one she called last time, are closed for the holidays and won't re-open until January. The fourth branch is open, but can't find their copy of the book. The librarian then spends an hour going through the library catalog (which I could have done myself) and getting out books on Haiti (travel books and history books) for me, even after I told her several times that those books did not meet my school's requirements because they are not primary sources.

Thanks a lot, guys. Now, I only have a few days left to finish a paper that I'd written based entirely on the premise that I'd get that other book to finish up with. Not only that, but I also have to find a new primary source somewhere else. I waited a whole month for that book. I spent an entire month operating under the premise that that particular book would arrive in time. A month is plenty of time to tell me that the book is not available. Yet nobody said or did anything during that entire month to indicate that there was a problem. Now I have to ask for an extension so that I have time to find another primary source and finish my paper. This is not the first case of bad service I've had in this town that was based on poor communication between employees, but it damned well better be the last one I have to deal with for a long time.

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