So yes, the BPL is planning on closing several branches and reducing hours across the board. Perhaps my experience with my local branch yesterday demonstrates why. It's called lack of customer service.
First, for some unfathomable reason, my new branch does call my home phone, as specified under my account preferences to indicate that my holds are ready. However, their automated system fails to leave a message. I have subsequently become familiar with all of their numbers in order to note when my holds become available.
Next, upon entering the branch to pick up my hold yesterday, I decided that I would only take one of my two holds. I proceeded to the Customer Service Desk to check out the one book and return the one I would be relinquishing.
As I arrived at the Desk, one of the volunteers took a patron's card and checked out all of her holds. Such was not my luck. No, instead I was served by Mr. Lazy, who attempts at all costs to avoid working by turning your attention to any and every automated gizmo available. Since the scanners at the Self-Checkout at my branch tend to fail when reading my card, you can imagine some of my previous dealings with him.
I gave him my card and indicated which book I would be checking out and which I would be returning. He proceeded to waste 3 minutes on why I should use the Self-Checkout and that he would help me this time only because the library wasn't busy. I then told him that I had heard his sermon in the past, he needn't bother showing me how to use the Self-Checkout as I had tried and failed in the past, and he should simply check out my book in order to save time. To his repeated grumbling I let out an audible: This is why branches are closing. Lack of customer service! He said it was due to people not paying their taxes.
Of course, he proceeded to check out both of my books, to which I told him the precise reason why I came to him was because I only wanted the one book. His response? To have me go put it in the Return bin.
Listen, if people found friendly, helpful staff (ah, the librarians of my youth!), perhaps they would want to frequent the library more often. Maybe not, but certainly, getting attitude and having to service everything yourself is annoying. I pay my taxes. Now give me some service!