With the economy still in the doldrums and not yet returning to any standards that we deem as lofty, many aspects of our lives continue to be taxed and burdened by high unemployment and less consumer spending.
Several government-driven actions and private-industry strategies have been employed, such as the lowest interest rates in nearly two decades, as a means to bolster the ailing auto industry.
All of these scenarios have something in common — most notably the element of change.
Change is a difficult concept for most of us to digest. We are wedded to our routines, and change does nothing more than put a crimp and sometimes a brick wall in those well-worn paths. We look forward to our new computer, but wish it had the same operating system as the previous incarnation, and the list goes on.
I am not any different than any of you, and I too enjoy the same route to work and heaven forbid if there is a detour. I also like my routine at my house every morning, which consists of getting up out of bed, feeding my dachshund, George, going off to the gym, then home for a shower before I dart to work. And if one of those things gets trumped by sleeping late, then the change throws me off and my personal orbit is no longer aligned with the stars.
Likewise, changes in many Massachusetts libraries are occurring in response to financial pressures and unprecedented growth trends, and Dracut’s M. G. Parker Library is embracing some of these changes.
A second book drop has been added to the circulation area to make interactions easier for those who are just dropping off items. Like many of you, I have witnessed too many falling DVDs and dangling children’s books from the slot of our single, relatively undersized book drop. The overwhelming success of our library has compelled us to add this second book drop, and I see it as a small addition with the potential for sizable results.
Our self-checkout machine, which is located in the children’s room, is another way to expedite patron transactions. A computer bar-code reader and screen comprise this system, which is easy to use and creates a savings of time for the patron and precious staffing on our part. Please be reminded that any transaction that included DVDs or videos can’t utilize the self-checkout, and will need to be handled at the circulation desk.
With staffing below critical mass and abnormally high growth we also now require, like many of our neighboring libraries, that all library transactions be completed at least 10 minutes prior to the library’s closing hour. This change, while hard for many to swallow, is not negotiable, as the computers are regulated by a timed program and turn off automatically, making check-in or checkout impossible after the designated time. We do however make several announcements to let our valued patrons know what is happening as we coax them to the checkout area.
Our Internet connection, while woefully inadequate, is currently under great scrutiny by our tech services staff and consultants, and we are hopeful that download speeds and access will be rising to more acceptable levels in the immediate future. Please stay tuned and visit the library regularly as we are always willing to hear your input and mull over your suggestions.
Dana Mastroianni, director of the M. G. Parker Library, can be reached at 978-454-5474 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.