Thursday, May 01, 2008

Library gripe

Tell me why in the hell would a library choose to use a digital media product for audio books that does not support Mac products and supports only a handful of cell phones? How is this providing service to patrons? Are people really going to sit at their PC to listen to a book?

Well this people isn't. I was so happy to discover that my local library was offering digital audio books. "Oh boy" I thought, "Now I can save a few steps" wonderful. No. Terrible. It would be great IF the product could do what MOST patrons want: Allow them to transfer the digital book to their iPod or phone. I have an iPod because I wanted to do just that, transfer books to the device so I can listen to them as I walk/run in the morning. Man, was I looking forward to a new book this week. That was instantly shattered as I attempted to transfer my digital book to my iPod. Then became frustrated when I discovered that wouldn't work. I was hopeful again when I remembered my smartphone. I was about to jack in my Treo when the bells in my brain went off and I thought "Hey dummy, if this isn't working with an iPod, then something is wrong. You better look into this before you waste any more time."

I gathered my portable devices:
Treo 680
Blackberry Curve
iPod Shuffle
iPod 20G
Olympus DVR
I then checked the website for this OverDrive product's compatibility with know devices. They conveniently list all the compatible portable devices and even provide links out to sites where you can BUY the device. Are any of my devices compatible with the OverDrive product? No. Not a one. If I want to use this aspect of my library's resources I'll have to use something I do not own. Well I know who is in bed with who here.

And libraries wonder why citizens get upset about libraries wanting more money to provide services. This is an example why. As a public library you MUST really think hard about what kinds of technological services you will offer. This is the way to go so you better get it together or you are going to crumble to bits. Frankly I think very little research went into this county's process in the selection of this product. I wonder how much this is costing my county? And why would they choose a product that, I'm guessing, at least half of the people can't use? What are the kickbacks for using this product?

Hey, you, public libraries? Are you listening? When you do foolish things like this you have to expect people to be upset. You have successfully given citizens another reason of why libraries are not worth supporting. Something like this was (and still is) likely perceived to be minor in the heads of those in charge of making decisions. Oh how that is a big mistake. Because I'm betting that this is going to make several people very upset. Like me for example. I'm a big time lover of libraries and this, among other things with this county system, is getting under my nails irritating. I am fed up with libraries MISSING the point of PROVIDING a good service. Where were their brains in this process? And yet, I still want to go into this profession. I might have to change that if this continues to be a consistent occurrence.

2 comments :

Sydney said...

If you're at all interested in listening to the classics (or some hilarious olde-timey, public domaine non-fiction), you should check out LibriVox. It's the audiobook version of Project Gutenberg. Some of the readers are great, and some are not so great. But it's all free! And you can sign up to become a reader!

Yvonne said...

Thanks for the lead, wow that will be my saving grace.