Thursday, August 20, 2015

Today At The Desk...

After three days of back-to-back storytimes at daycares, it was nice to be back in the children's department doing something different!  Don't get me wrong, I like doing storytime, but after doing 17 storytimes in 3 days I am ready for a change of pace.

Today I started off my shift like I usually do, picking up toys and stray books, filling displays, and straightening shelves.  I also sorted the shelving carts to help the page out, and pulled all the holds that needed to be sent to other branches.

There's a bit of a lull right now, as all the kids are back in school but they haven't gotten hit with a lot of homework or reading assignments yet.  I took advantage of a quiet spell to research cowboy-related picture books to develop a kit for the storytime bus.   We have a number of these themed kits, each containing at least 10 books and a few activities and songs related to the theme.  Because we visit up to 17 different classes each week, it's nice to have a variety of books to accommodate different ages/attention spans, allow the reader (myself and a volunteer helper) to chose books the fit our style, and so it doesn't get overly monotonous reading the same 2 or 3 books over and over.  Finding enough cowboy books, however, is proving to be a challenge.  It seems like most I find are just too long for the kids I see, but I managed to find a few and requested a few more from other branches to check out.

In addition to the routine questions, helping with checkouts, and placing holds, I had the opportunity to assist customers with some issues that I had not dealt with before.  One was pretty straightforward, just a customer returning a DVD after accidentally returning an empty case prior.  So I just had to find where my co-worker had put the empty case and return the disc to it, check it in, and then just double-check both the item record and the patron's record to be sure it was take off their account and there were no notes that needed to be removed. 

The second was a bit more involved.  A customer called because she had received a notice that she was being billed for a book that was returned damaged, yet she was certain it was in "pristine" condition when she returned it [at another branch].  I pulled up her account and saw that she had been charged the full replacement cost of the book, so I expected the book to have significant damage when I pulled it from the evidence shelf.  However, it only had stains on one page, and a few spots on the edges of others.  Otherwise, it was in good condition.  I was a little surprised she had been charged full replacement, but the book was practically brand new and had only been checked out twice before.  Since the damage was not extensive and it was possible it had happened either before the customer checked it out, or in the process of being routed back to our location, I decided it was in the best interest of good customer service to waive the charges, and my supervisor concurred, which made the customer very relieved.

I thought it was interesting that the patron was not angry, but seemed more horrified that we would think she returned a badly damaged book without saying anything.  I really suspect that her child that read the book probably spilled something on it and didn't tell her mother, but the damage was not obvious and I could see how the mom wouldn't notice.  But I told her it was certainly possible that it had been done by a previous patron and whoever checked it in didn't notice.  I explained that in the future if they did happen to notice any pre-existing damage in a book they check out, to be sure and let us know so we could note it, and then she would have to worry about getting charged for it.  So everybody was happy in the end, and we decided to put the book back in circulation because the staining was so minimal.

I am also happy to report that "Batman" was back to see us today, taking some time out of his day fighting crime to stop by and play with the blocks and check out a book or two.  It was also nice to see one of our semi-regular families; they split their time between our location and one of the branches.  When I first met them there were just two very young kids and the mom who had a small baby bump.  That baby bump is now a very energetic 15-month old, and her oldest is now in kindergarten!  I really enjoy getting to know young families and watching the kids as they grow, and see what books they like and how their interests change.

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