Saturday, October 20, 2012

In the stacks

San Diego County must have had, and maybe still has, pots of money.   I have been in two of the libraries, and driven by a couple more.  There are I think 32 branches.  These buildings are huge, beautiful, and have an incredible check in and out system.  They have large parking lots and street parking which is free.  Take that Oakland.

To return books you go to a window, press check in, slide the book hard onto the conveyor belt, and it reads who checked it out and prints a receipt when you press done.  But the check out is crazy.  They have several stations around the library.  You scan your library card, and stack several books on a pad.  As you place them it reads them, when all books are read, press done, and a receipt is printed. I stacked mine all at once and it read half of them.  I lifted those off and before I could place them in my book bag, it had read the rest. It doesn't matter which way you place the books, it reads the ID strip inside the book. It took less than 30 seconds to check out 13 books.  Other systems I have used, you place a book, wait and wait, then place the next one.  Very slow, better than waiting in line for a person, but still slow.

In the stacks they will have 4 or 5 copies of books.  But, there is always a but, I hate the way the stacks are organized.  Everything that is sorted by the Dewey Decimal system is fine.  But Fiction, awful.  Most libraries I have used through the years sort fiction by: New books, Large print, Older books.  These categories are broken down then into sub categories:  Romance, Science Fiction, Mysteries, Novels, Short Stories, Graphic Novels.  Paperbacks are sorted by the previous categories.  All of these are shelved by the author's last name.

Not San Diego.  Every fictional book goes on the shelf by author's name.  Paperback next to mystery, next to romance, next to scenic fiction. . .  They do have stickers on the spine to show mystery and science fiction.  That helps, but you have to go through every row to find what you are looking for.  I can't remember many authors' names. I have to look for the mystery sticker, take it down, and see if it is someone I read, or want to read.  It takes a long long time to find books.  If the mystery books are all together, I find favorites and discover new favorites quickly.

I know this is a petty complaint.  I understand it is much easier for them to shelf books one big group by last name.  No this one here, that one in that row, this one in the next room, that one goes on the spinning holder thingy.  I just don't like the system. 

But it is free, I can check out as many as I want, I can have 200 holds a year, and it is free.  I do love libraries.

1 comment:

Sue T. said...

Alameda Free Library has the same type of check-out. It is very fast & convenient. I agree with you that books should be shelved by genre! Makes it easier for us mystery fans to find what we're looking for.