Sunday, May 8, 2016

Old people joke

Once upon a time at my library we got phone calls all the time. All the time. You had two options, you could come in to the library, or you could call us, and a lot of the time calling us was much the better solution as you could do it in your underwear. But slowly technical automations came into the system. You could take care of an occasional library thing by yourself simply by punching numbers into your phone. This didn't make a huge difference for us as staff, but it presaged the Internet, and the Internet made a huge difference. But you know that story. Soon so many things could be done on the Internet that eventually hours could go by at the library without our phone ringing at all.

But that's not to say it never rings. And though hours can go by without it ringing we can still get a burst of ten calls in half an hour. But because that is so the exception at this point I am not really prepared for it when it happens. And I find that I take umbrage at that flurry of phone calls. The vast majority of these issues could easily be resolved by all these people on their own. They are calling on my time, and adding to my workload all so I can do something as simple as read them the names of items checked out on their record. I am interrupted from important work and/or goofing around in order to renew books for them even though there are several simple ways for them to take care of that themselves. I have to give them basic information they could get by reading their receipt, using the Web, or simply by having pushed the correct number on their phone. I may even have to transfer them to another person at the library just because they couldn't be bothered to listen to the quite simple instructions on our phone system. 

Oh yes, I can get quite irritated at them.

But then, fortunately I remember, and calm down: Hey, these people lived through The Great Depression, they fought in WWII. How could it hurt me to be kind to them?

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