NYPL Sucks, part II

I first posted about the atrocities of the New York Public Library about a month and a half ago. This is a continuation of that post, as I have new complaints to share.

The main reason I use the public library is to get DVDs for free, thus avoiding the multiple negative issues associated with other ways of watching movies, such as in the theatres, via Netflix, or via downloads, paid or not. In fact, the only negative associated with my system is that I have to deal with NYPL, easily the worst library system on Earth.

When I first complained about NYPL, I noted the bright red error that showed up on their website when I tried to request a movie: “There is a problem with your library record. Please see a librarian.” I have managed to deduce that this only happens after I have ten items on hold, which I suppose is the maximum. Of course, it doesn’t tell me that this is the problem, but rather that I should see a librarian, which brings me to my first complaint:

Where are the librarians?

So at my home library, HCPL, aka the greatest library system ever, there are plenty of librarians around and they are there to help. They are never too busy to answer questions, they are personable, and they comment on the things I take out. NYPL, on the other hand, seems to be entirely run by twenty-somethings in need of a part-time job. Being a twenty-something aware of the difficulty of finding work, I have respect for these “librarians,” and like children who are out of control, I have only the parents to blame.

See, NYPL librarians are not helpful. They are not friendly. They do not have answers to your questions, and if you want anything more than to check out your books or DVDs, you’d better find someone not on NYPL payroll to help you. Typically when I walk into my local branch, there are three or four people my age or younger behind the counter and no one else. There is no ‘head librarian’ present to train these younger employees, or to provide help when necessary, except during a very limited time, and hidden away on the top floor. I only know of her existence due to a chance encounter, which brings me to my second complaint:

Due date issues

Among the movies I checked out on my last visit was the new movie RocknRolla. It wasn’t bad, though I had to watch it with subtitles because their English accents were so strong. But I digress. All of the things I checked out are due on 10-6. Except for RocknRolla, which has the due date of 10-3. Had I not been given a receipt, I might not have noticed this right away. When I would get online on 10-5 to renew all the movies, all of a sudden, I would notice a Draconian two dollar fine on RocknRolla, without the option to renew.

In fact, this exact scenario occurred last semester, when a movie I checked out was apparently a “four day check out” something for which no warning was presented. There were no signs near the DVD area, nor was I given a receipt. Thus, I had to track down this head librarian to try to avoid the fine. (A dollar a day is really ridiculous.)

She was very condescending, as though it was my fault that the library had no signage for this sudden policy change. I did manage to get the fine waived after quite a bit of work, but it didn’t change the fact that I had a bad taste in my mouth because of the whole incident.

Moral: The NYPL sucks. Hardcore. If I have more to complain about in the future, which will no doubt be the case, I’ll be sure to extend this mini-series into part three. Stay tuned!

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  • Ndalton

    I work for NYPL.  All of us are working out of title. Clerks have to do librarians jobs and they are supposed to be doing are job. Librarians get paid a lot more than the clerks. Clerks are treated like dirt and run the branch.  I work with a bunch of twenty-somethings who don't give two shits about the job or how they treat the patrons. I treat people the way I would want to be treated. Nice Blog I just needed to vent and agree with what you have said.

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  • rbs

    Thanks for the tip. Got the "There is a problem with your library record. Please see a librarian." msg tnight while trying to put a hold on something, and indeed, I do have 10 items on hold already.

    Now, if that one hold in transit would just effin' get here, I could request another.

  • chris

    they are evil!