A Day in the Life . . . Server Crash!

What happens when the library’s server crashes?  Bad things.  What happens when the server takes more than a day to rebuild?  Worse things.  I’m not a techie person so I really don’t understand the behind-the-scenes details.  Like most of our patrons, I only know that I’m not able to access the internet.

What this means for me while I’m working is that I don’t have access to our online resources, one of which is  our online catalog.  This in turn leaves me unable to answer one of the most common questions of the day:  is book XYZ currently on the shelf?  What I can do, is guide the patron to the general area and scan the shelf.  If it’s fiction, it’s fairly easy as we shelve those in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.  If it’s non-fiction, it’s a little trickier—I can guess a general call number based on the subject but that’s a broad guess at best.  For example, if someone is looking for the book Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior, I’ll hazard a guess that it’s 158.something as this is the general location for Psychology titles.   As we have access to the catalog today, I can tell you that this covers over 7,000 titles at our Main branch–even with a significant amount checked out or in storage, that’s still a lot of book spines to scan!  Now if I were willing to pay for a smart phone, I could have relied upon its superpowers to search the internet for a call number, but that’s simply not part of my budget.  Which leads to another perspective . . .

What this means for the patrons.  Aside of not having access to our catalog or our excellent collection of online resources, patrons who rely upon the library for their internet access are unable to go online to apply for jobs, apply for unemployment, file taxes, etc.  For me at least, I’m already at the library 5 days a week—it’s simply a matter of me coming in early or staying late to take care of my personal business.  For others, coming to the library is something they have to work into their day/week/month.

Which leads back to another way my job is impacted by the crash of a server:  angry patrons.  We were fortunate–most people were dismayed but understanding—the first day.  However, as Day Two of No Internet Access began, irritation was more visible.  Times are hard and like it or not, we are dependent on the internet to conduct much of our personal business and/or stay connected in a hectic world.  And as times are hard, we’re dependent on the library to provide that access.


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