Friday, October 15, 2010

Unanswerable questions of the week

(1) Which e-reader should I buy? I'm going to Florida for the winter. [I launch into an explanation of the small Kindle, which is the only e-reader we have in-house today. Patron: Do I have to go to the Amazon store to buy books for the Kindle? Me: No, it's done wirelessly. You can do it here at the library, at Starbucks, at MacDonalds, ... Patron: So I have to go to MacDonalds to buy books for the Kindle? Me: No, you can do it anywhere you have a signal. Patron: I need something simpler. Me (silently): {Okay, you don't need an e-reader. You need to stick with the 500+ year old technology of the codex.}]

(2) How do I get my new wireless printer to work with my computer? [Me: Did it come with some instructions? Patron: I don't want to read the instructions.]

(3) I just bought a new computer. What do I have to do to get the upgrade? [Me: What are we talking about upgrading? Patron: I don't know. It just said "free upgrade."]

(4) Why isn't my computer receiving emails from the country club anymore? [Me: Are they in the junk mail folder? Patron: No, I looked there. Me: Did you accidentally put the sender's address on a "blacklist"? Patron: I don't know. Me: Are you getting email from other people? Patron: Yes. Me: I'm all out of ideas.]

There were more, from the two patrons who were using a flash drive for the first time (yay, I weaned two more people away from floppy disks!), from the woman who wanted some one-on-one time because her husband would not show her how to use his computer, from the patron who came for a Files & Folders class that turned into a Managing Your Digital Photos class, but I'm too tired to think about them right now.

On the plus side, our ILS is sending out courtesy notices again, and it's only been a month since we switched mail service providers. I don't know why this is always so difficult but, based on a sample of two, it is. And it's not something we're allowed to change ourselves--the vendor has to do it. The state library is starting up a project to develop an open source ILS that other libraries around the state can buy into. Maybe I'll be around to see that come to fruition, and then we can say goodbye to the hefty annual support bills. And maybe that'll save enough money to prevent salary cutbacks. Or maybe not.