“I noticed in your library e-newsletter that you have automobile manuals listed on the Ebsco server. Instead of paying a mechanic $100 to install a taillight wiring kit for a trailer, I used the schematic diagram online and I did it myself. I don’t have any experience with mechanical things — I’ve never even changed my own oil! The library was instrumental to me empowering myself. Thank you!”
Library member Heather Feenstra put this note into our suggestion/comments box last month. It made us smile. Because while we don’t want to put our local mechanics out of business, the library is all about empowering people. And in a sometimes disgruntled world it’s nice to get a note that’s so — well, gruntled.
We love your comments about how good we’re doing. We also love your suggestions for how we can be better, things you think we should add to the collection, and what would make you gruntled.
Every comment or suggestion is considered. A patron comment suggesting chalkboards in the bathroom stalls resulted in a now-popular way to leave your thought of the day — and they are overwhelmingly positive. Today’s chalkboard graffiti reads “Readers are Leaders.” Well, yes.
We act on many of the book suggestions we receive. The reasons we might not can range from “it’s out of print” to “we already have it” (always check the catalogue!) or “it’s expensive, and we think it will get limited use.” We do try for the best bang for our budget buck.
We can’t satisfy everyone, case in point a comment from a parent who would prefer we didn’t have computers in the children’s section. But as the library is concerned with literacy — and that includes computer literacy — they will stay, especially as the programs are about literacy, numeracy, and other good things. Of course, we balance with reading, family time, outside playtime — whatever age we are.
Nelson resident Ian Harriman wrote to us in June when his computer was invaded by a virus, and outside playtime wasn’t really an alternative. So when his wife suggested the library, he decided to give it a shot.
“My expectations weren’t high, but I knew that a good 400 to 500 emails would rack up over the weekend if I didn’t. Dreading the prospect of reading all of them after my computer was repaired, I had no choice.
“Once inside the library, I was surprised how busy that place was. The library was clean, warm and friendly. It had a great atmosphere. As I sat down, not a spot was empty at the other computers. The staff was wonderful, so willing to help me out. It’s nice to know that such expertise is available. I was able to access all my sites. It was obvious the library’s technology was good quality, modern and up-to-date. I came back three days in a row,” he says. “ I received an invaluable service at a point in time when I really needed it.”
Thanks, Ian. You made our day, too.
Other recent comments include appreciation for the Winlaw School outreach program (which will pick up again in September), help with e-Readers (for some, the VCR of the new millennium), and how nice it is to have so much art in the library (currently, great works based on Great Works from 4Cats studio, and colourful stormscapes by artist Yvonne Vanens Munro).
Got feedback? Look for the comments and suggestions box across from the circulation desk, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have your say, and help us to keep the dis from the gruntle.
Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Her column runs every other Friday.