Sunday, July 20, 2014

Holds - Why are they so Scary?

At least once a day I help a teen or adult try to find a book and it is not on the shelf. It is summer, we are busy, and that hot title is not going to be on the shelf. I always ask them if I can put the title on  hold for them, and 90% of the time, they say no.

This makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would you not place yourself on the list so you have a chance of actually reading the book in the next month?

I have people constantly asking me for The Fault in our Stars, Allegiant, If I Stay, etc. When I tell them they are checked out, they are always disappointed (The movies are either coming out soon, or have come out recently. Why would you think this title would be on the shelf is beyond me.) But they refuse to put it on hold. I ALWAYS offer.

I have had teens say, "I can't believe they don't have a copy."
I grind my teeth, and think to myself: we do, and there are 115 people on the waiting list.

I had reached the end of my rope one day, after 3 people asked me for the same book, and all refused my hold offer. When the next teen asked for it and I told her it wasn't there, and asked if she would like to be added to the list, and, as usual, said no, I broke it down for her. "Honey, if you don't put it on hold, you will not see it on the shelf for at least 3 months. There are 100 people on the list." She looked at me like I was insane.

I think it boggles my mind because I am a person who doesn't really browse anymore. I know what I want, I put it on hold, and it shows up on my desk like hand delivered magic.

Are people afraid of the commitment of a hold? Afraid of the notification phone call or email? The call isn't even a person anymore. It is all automated.

I don't know what I need to do to teach people at the library that holds are not a scary thing, but are actually really convenient. When the book is ready for you, you will be notified, instead of continually coming in to check the shelf and not finding what you are looking for.

I have been rolling around in my head for a while the idea of teaching a basic OPAC course that would include how to do a basic search, how to log into your online account, how to place/cancel/freeze a hold on an item, how to renew items online, and how to pay fines online. I think this would be a great thing, I just don't know if I have the time to teach it, with all of the other things on my plate. Plus, we are in the works for potentially switching to a new library software system and catalog, so things may be changing, so is it worth teaching, when it could change in the next 18 months?

Things for me to think about I guess.

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