Checkout Area Changes

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Although it is not the beginning of a new year, back-to-school still seems like the beginning of a new year to me. With this “new year” we are making some changes at the circulation area of Central Library.

The Circulation Desk will transition to a Customer Service Desk. We’ll handle library card registrations and account questions or problems at that desk. Staff will be at the checkout kiosk to help library users check out materials there.

There is a change at the checkout kiosks. We have eliminated locked cases for DVDs and CDs so the checkout process for those items is much easier….no more unlockers.

We hope this change will allow us to provide better customer service as we respond to the increase in circulation and the decrease in tax revenues.


Service Desk Changes

Posted by Ann Rohrbaugh at 08/21/2013 10:09:02 AM | 

This is a very disappointing change. I am frustrated that this was not presented to the general public. Being forced to check out with a machine seems like a huge change for many of us and this was never presented to us. I did fill out the most recent public survey. I would consider myself an active library user and this feels like a decision made by very few that will affect so many people--- not in a positive manner. Unfortunately, I see myself using the library less, not more, as a result of these changes.
Posted by: Sarah Drumm ( Email ) at 8/24/2013 9:30 AM

Thanks for your message. I appreciate hearing from library users and I do understand your feelings about the changes in the circulation area at central library. Let me try to put the changes in some perspective.
Over the past five years, our revenue has decreased about $1.5 million. At the same time, many expenses over which we have very little, if any, control have increased…utilities, library materials, employee fringe benefits, etc. For the year that began July 1, our revenue was down another 1.5%. We are hoping property tax revenues have hit bottom and will begin to increase or at least be flat, but only time will tell AND, even more worrisome, is the uncertainty over personal property tax. We are anticipating another 8-10% reduction over the next 8 – 9 years with more unknowns about the details than knowns. It is unclear if we will qualify for any state reimbursement for those losses. In summary, our revenues are down and the future is uncertain.
I am proud of the work our staff and board have done to manage this uncertainty and revenue reductions. Even with these revenue reductions, we have expanded our services to preschoolers and school age children, have added several digital services, have been designated a Family Place Library, and have been able to continue to buy multiple copies of popular books. We will soon have an activity room adjacent to the children’s room and hope to launch a digital lab in the spring. An important component of adding those services has been realigning staff from backroom operations to direct public service. For example, we have put materials on hold on shelves for patrons to pick-up and have added the checkout units. No staff have been laid off with these changes; rather staff have been reassigned and some vacancies not filled.
These are challenging times for public services such as libraries. Some Michigan libraries have laid off staff, closed branches, significantly reduced hours, buy limited new materials. These changes in the circulation area are one part of our efforts to avoid that happening here. We’ve made some tough choices that we believe serve the best interests of most patrons, especially children. Library use is strong…..we have had recordbreaking circulation this summer, strong participation in summer reading games, and good attendance at programs. We see the continuation and as possible, expansion, of those services as a high priority and only possible if we streamline services in other areas such the circulation area.
I hope this background information is helpful and that you will continue to use the library. You may want to visit our branches – they may be more appealing to you than central library.
Thanks again for writing.
Ann Rohrbaugh
Library Director
Posted by: Ann R ( Email | Visit ) at 8/26/2013 9:10 AM

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