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Library collection

Watson 14 July 2011 27

Am I the only one who finds the ACT Libraries collection a tiny tad lacking? Pretty much each and every book I want to read, I have to request to be held because they never seem to make it to the shelves. And now I know why. For 3 of the books I recently asked to be held, I am 15th, 14th and 13th in the queue. That’s a 10 month wait to read a book?!

I checked the shelves for a few classic authors today and for some did not find even one of their books on the shelves. So all I can go in there for is to collect items that are being held for me when they finally arrive. Browsing is futile.

It makes it tempting to just buy them cheaply from overseas, but I have so many books that I will never read again on my bookshelves already… Maybe I should do it anyway and then donate them to the library once I’ve read them!


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Aurita Aurita 8:29 pm 16 Jul 11

I came to Canberra an year ago, and my last experience of a good Public Library was in Hillsboro, OR in US – so initially I cribbed a bit because I felt that I did not find the titles I like reading. But very quickly I have nothing but good things to say about library – they do an awesome job, they try to have the popular titles. Yes I agree there is a huge waiting list. I also do what someone here suggested, put at least 10 requests at any given time knowing that they will come in sequence. But I also do get somethings on browsing but rarely do I get popular books – clearly everyone reserves if they want something.
I have accepted long ago that if I want instant gratification with a book that I badly want my hands on, I have to buy it. Doing both of these things works fine. All the best Watson!

laughtong laughtong 8:12 pm 14 Jul 11

JessP said :

Laughtong said:

This comment illustrates the dilemma for the library staff well.
Every time we buy an additional copy of something topical and popular, it eats into the budget for other material. Year or two down the track the additional copies are either sitting on the shelves gathering dust and taking up valuable space or are being disposed off. Difficult balancing act.

So what are you suggesting? One copy of a popular book so that we may have more books that people (may not necessarily) want to read??

Isn’t this what Watson was talking about as being an issue in the first place? The library is there to cater to the needs of the public… that isnt necessarily 100 new titles – it may in fact be 20 copies of 5 titles that people want to read.

Read my comment in full – I am saying it is a complex balancing of the topical and popular against a range of material that may be, for instance, meeting students needs. Also what is topical and popular today, mostly likely won’t be so popular in 2 years time. In the meantime the library could have missed selecting some ‘sleeper’ material of growing interest or important material for local needs in the future. In many cases these items go out of print quickly and can’t be purchased later on.
Of course if e-book publishers gave llibraries some better options for mutliple user access, e-books are an ideal method to satisify the immediate rush for the new or popular.

JessP JessP 6:56 pm 14 Jul 11

Laughtong said:

This comment illustrates the dilemma for the library staff well.
Every time we buy an additional copy of something topical and popular, it eats into the budget for other material. Year or two down the track the additional copies are either sitting on the shelves gathering dust and taking up valuable space or are being disposed off. Difficult balancing act.

So what are you suggesting? One copy of a popular book so that we may have more books that people (may not necessarily) want to read?? Isn’t this what Watson was talking about as being an issue in the first place? The library is there to cater to the needs of the public… that isnt necessarily 100 new titles – it may in fact be 20 copies of 5 titles that people want to read.

laughtong laughtong 6:17 pm 14 Jul 11

JessP said :

The ACT library is very very good. Sure you have to wait for more popular titles but if you not prepared to pay the $$ to buy then you just haveto suck it up!

When The Da Vinci Code first came out the wait list was 100+!! BUT the Library did get more copies so, although there was still a wait, it was reduced.

This comment illustrates the dilemma for the library staff well.
Every time we buy an additional copy of something topical and popular, it eats into the budget for other material. Year or two down the track the additional copies are either sitting on the shelves gathering dust and taking up valuable space or are being disposed off. Difficult balancing act.

Watson Watson 1:43 pm 14 Jul 11

colourful sydney racing identity said :

*sigh* I was not getting aggressive, I just was surprised that you would complain about having to wait to get a new edition of a bokk to read for free. I took issue with your implication that I was insulting the staff of the library – staff who I believe do a great job, with insufficinet appreciation and are probably comparatively underpaid – if my response was aggressive or curt, I apologise.

It’s ok. I admit that my response was pretty passive aggressive too. 😮

And I will take the opportunity to stress that I do not have any complaints about the library staff or the service. I was mainly making a suggestion about how great it would be if they could get a larger budget for purchasing more copies of popular books. And not just talking new books here.

I am grateful to have a local library close to home and work now my daughter has started devouring books. I was buying her books for a while, but could not keep up. And 6yos tend to not be very picky about which books they read. 🙂

astrojax astrojax 1:43 pm 14 Jul 11

Watson said :

Nooooo! I sit in front of a screen all day (and most of the night). I want my tangible, fragile, paper book that smells of ink or old paper.

yes!

JessP JessP 1:42 pm 14 Jul 11

The ACT library is very very good. Sure you have to wait for more popular titles but if you not prepared to pay the $$ to buy then you just haveto suck it up! When The Da Vinci Code first came out the wait list was 100+!! BUT the Library did get more copies so, although there was still a wait, it was reduced.

I tend to request books as soon as I hear about them, usually after reading reviews on them. I immediately request them (and this can be done when they have been ordered by the Library but not yet delivered) and usually I dont have to wait too long. I have 5 – 10 books on request at anytime and I am rarely with out a library book. A fabulous service!

Classified Classified 1:04 pm 14 Jul 11

Watson said :

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Watson said :

But obviously, I am an ethernal whinger and I should just buy the bloody books and leave the library to the nice people who appreciate the service so much they would never dare offer any constructive criticism.

Make up your mind. At #9 you accuse me of insulting library staff and now I would never criticise them?

Well spotted! Hope your day and your mood get better.

I am regularly shocked at the aggressiveness of some people commenting on RA. It’s worse when it’s about a pretty innocent topic.

But it’s all cool. I don’t necessarily need to be right. I will now quietly walk away from this discussion which has been taken to a level it doesn’t deserve. Feel free to have the last word and feel good about it. 🙂

Well said. There’s no need for hysterics at all, even when disagreeing.

YetAnotherBlowIn YetAnotherBlowIn 12:53 pm 14 Jul 11

johnboy said :

get thee a kindle.

Or to Project Gutenburg

CapitalK CapitalK 12:45 pm 14 Jul 11

I just remembered why I have not had to wait too long – or rather have not even noticed how long I have been waiting – its because I will request several books at a time and dont really mind what order they come up in – perhaps you could try this??

colourful sydney racing identity colourful sydney racing identity 12:21 pm 14 Jul 11

Watson said :

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Watson said :

But obviously, I am an ethernal whinger and I should just buy the bloody books and leave the library to the nice people who appreciate the service so much they would never dare offer any constructive criticism.

Make up your mind. At #9 you accuse me of insulting library staff and now I would never criticise them?

Well spotted! Hope your day and your mood get better.

I am regularly shocked at the aggressiveness of some people commenting on RA. It’s worse when it’s about a pretty innocent topic.

But it’s all cool. I don’t necessarily need to be right. I will now quietly walk away from this discussion which has been taken to a level it doesn’t deserve. Feel free to have the last word and feel good about it. 🙂

*sigh* I was not getting aggressive, I just was surprised that you would complain about having to wait to get a new edition of a bokk to read for free. I took issue with your implication that I was insulting the staff of the library – staff who I believe do a great job, with insufficinet appreciation and are probably comparatively underpaid – if my response was aggressive or curt, I apologise.

Watson Watson 12:09 pm 14 Jul 11

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Watson said :

But obviously, I am an ethernal whinger and I should just buy the bloody books and leave the library to the nice people who appreciate the service so much they would never dare offer any constructive criticism.

Make up your mind. At #9 you accuse me of insulting library staff and now I would never criticise them?

Well spotted! Hope your day and your mood get better.

I am regularly shocked at the aggressiveness of some people commenting on RA. It’s worse when it’s about a pretty innocent topic.

But it’s all cool. I don’t necessarily need to be right. I will now quietly walk away from this discussion which has been taken to a level it doesn’t deserve. Feel free to have the last word and feel good about it. 🙂

colourful sydney racing identity colourful sydney racing identity 11:34 am 14 Jul 11

Watson said :

But obviously, I am an ethernal whinger and I should just buy the bloody books and leave the library to the nice people who appreciate the service so much they would never dare offer any constructive criticism.

Make up your mind. At #9 you accuse me of insulting library staff and now I would never criticise them?

Watson Watson 11:26 am 14 Jul 11

colourful sydney racing identity said :

So what is your solution? The library should have every book you may want, and have it on the shelf of which ever library you happen to go to on any particular day? If that is what you want go to a bookshop and buy the book.

Nowhere have I suggested that the ACT library system is inefficient, I think it is an excellent service. I have always been able to find books that I have been looking for. Sure sometimes I have to wait a couple of weeks, but don’t see that as something to get worked up over.

Whoa, my sincere apologies for mentioning it. I was not getting worked up at all, but you obviously are.

If you regard 10 months and a couple of weeks as the same, you probably never get impatient about anything. Good for you!

I was suggesting that maybe – just maybe, I have never run a public library – it might be a good idea if they would have more copies of the same book, IF they notice that there are consistently more than 10 people waiting for the book at any given time. I don’t mind still having to request them – I suppose it is the modern thing to do.

But obviously, I am an ethernal whinger and I should just buy the bloody books and leave the library to the nice people who appreciate the service so much they would never dare offer any constructive criticism.

troll-sniffer: you’re probably still paying too much. If you want your books at the cheapest price, go to http://www.booko.com.au. If you want to support Australian book stores, you can just find the first Australian one in the list, though they are consistently about twice as expensive as the UK or US alternatives.

Ebay can be ok for secondhand books, but I rarely find what I need cheaper than the cheapest price for new.

FioBla FioBla 11:16 am 14 Jul 11

I’ve used a few library services around Australia: Tasmania, Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne and now Canberra. Anecdotally (important) I think Canberra is technically very “good”—automatic checkouts and check ins, free reserve (holds), shelved reserves (don’t have to bother the counter staff), electronic rentals (Overdrive), has great number of branches & a mobile lending service, but somehow does not have the collection I want. Or maybe it’s small, but it doesn’t look that way when I visit the branches: there seem to be a ton of books there. or maybe I’ve grown older.

>Maybe I should do it anyway and then donate them to the library once I’ve read them!

I think that is a good idea. I think the Library’s collection should reflect the local population’s reading habits. It is possible that Canberra’s just doesn’t reflect mine (this is not a complaint). My old books always go libraries or to freecycle.

> get thee a kindle

I have a Kindle. Just know that it is not, or not yet compatible with the Overdrive lending system.

FWIW, my favourite library services were the Tasmanian, and Newcastle ones. But each (including Canberra) have their charms. If I’m not mistaken, of the library services I’ve used, Canberra serves the smallest population

troll-sniffer troll-sniffer 10:55 am 14 Jul 11

ON the odd occasion I want a book, I go to eBay first and Abebooks second, between the two there’s about a 95% or better chance I can get the book I want, even quite new titles, for 20% to 50% of the bookshop price, and often even lower. After reading it I either donate it somewhere or sell it back on eBay or give it to like minded friends for their edumacation.

And, if I really want a book and can’t find it cheaply on the internet, I’m quite happy to give Dymocks a little business, and I can usually recover up to 50% of the store price at eBay if the book is in some sort of demand.

colourful sydney racing identity colourful sydney racing identity 10:50 am 14 Jul 11

Watson said :

I’ve only recently started using the library again (after giving them a nice little donation in overdue fines first :o) and I do think the online catalogue and being able to request for books to be transferred and held are brilliant! I also have no complaints about the variety of books. Just about the limited number of copies they seem to hold for each book. But maybe that is unrealistic. Or maybe I was spoilt by the libraries in my hometown…

It’s good to know that the place in the queue doesn’t always result in such long waiting times too.

@colourful sydney rac. That is such an old and tired argument. It’s not because you don’t have to pay for a service that you should not expect it to be efficient. That’s a bit of an insult to the role of the library staff actually. And of course, we all pay for the service. It’s called ‘taxes’.

So what is your solution? The library should have every book you may want, and have it on the shelf of which ever library you happen to go to on any particular day? If that is what you want go to a bookshop and buy the book.

Nowhere have I suggested that the ACT library system is inefficient, I think it is an excellent service. I have always been able to find books that I have been looking for. Sure sometimes I have to wait a couple of weeks, but don’t see that as something to get worked up over.

OverLord OverLord 10:46 am 14 Jul 11

Books wha? I thought the library was a place you go to skate out the front of.

Watson Watson 10:36 am 14 Jul 11

I’ve only recently started using the library again (after giving them a nice little donation in overdue fines first :o) and I do think the online catalogue and being able to request for books to be transferred and held are brilliant! I also have no complaints about the variety of books. Just about the limited number of copies they seem to hold for each book. But maybe that is unrealistic. Or maybe I was spoilt by the libraries in my hometown…

It’s good to know that the place in the queue doesn’t always result in such long waiting times too.

@colourful sydney rac. That is such an old and tired argument. It’s not because you don’t have to pay for a service that you should not expect it to be efficient. That’s a bit of an insult to the role of the library staff actually. And of course, we all pay for the service. It’s called ‘taxes’.

CapitalK CapitalK 10:03 am 14 Jul 11

rossco said :

I have the opposite view of the Library collection. I’ve found the range of books (especially cooking books and graphic novels), DVDs and CDs to be pretty impressive given the size of the user base. Plus they will deliver requested books to the library of your choosing and you can request the library to purchase items, which is pretty awesome.

My thoughts exactly. I can’t say enough good things about the ACT library Service now that it has reinvented itself.

I often request books and have never had to wait.

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