Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Library Tech Woes

Putting on my patron hat: I'm very happy to have the new East Lake library open here in Mpls, but, today, on its first official open day, I've been frustrated with a number of web tech access problems.

First, the wireless doesn't work yet, and there's no exact date of when it will be up.

Second, though there are two dozen or so public internet-enabled computers, you have to sign up through only one login computer. It's a huge bottleneck over there. Even to use a 15-minute computer, you have to wait ten minutes at the bottleneck computer. This also means you have to sign in (with your library card bar code, natch) twice, once on the signin computer, once on the computer you've reserved.

Get the wireless up, pronto.
I dislike the signin computer idea in general, but short of getting rid of it, here's some suggestions about that.
De-link the 15-minute computers from the signin system.
Set up two or three more signin computers.
Allow users to set up a library-only account with a signin and password, so users don't have to type their full name and totally unmemorizable library bar code.
Put up signage telling users where the signin computer is next to every computer.

I love having the new branch finally open, but these are really ridiculous problems to have in a supermodern state-of-the-art library.



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