Saturday, May 20, 2017
The only two ways
Sadly, at my library, there are only two methods by which things are fixed.
Over in version number one something breaks and a series of consultations commence in the back room. A manager is brought into the discussion and after a lengthy meeting someone is appointed to make contact with the proper department. The proper department investigates and the wheels of repair are set in motion. As long as whatever broke hasn't ground the library to a halt we settle in to wait. Parts are ordered. The job is assigned a work order. It is placed on a docket with an unclear level of priority. Weeks, sometimes months go by as everyone works around the broken element. Occasionally the broken thing is brought up in discussion with the department responsible for repairing it, and the complicated reasons for the delays in it being fixed are explained. More weeks go by. Eventually everyone gives up hope. We get used to our temporary work arounds. Then, one or two workers, either ours or from somewhere else, show up. They work on the problem for four to six hours while we all hover excitedly about. They hit an impasse. A part they don't have and that is only in Ohio must be ordered in. It's fantastically expensive. They leave. Eight days later they return. In half an hour the broken thing is completely fixed and works and looks like nothing ever happened. It is like new.
In version number two something breaks and we start foraging for wrenches and rolls of duct tape. We pry a chunk of metal out of something. We reboot. It works but wobbles. We whack it six times to bend it over a bit then shove a binder clip wrapped in rubber bands to space it correctly. It holds! Job done. It will never be the same, but there is a good chance it will hold forever, and if it doesn't, well, now we know what to do.
I have dreamed of a third way, but in my heart I understand it is beyond the scope of human capability.