Letter: Richmond library policy lacks logic

Dear Editor,

The Richmond Public Library needs to change its booking policy in regards to its digitization station.

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Until recently, patrons were limited to one two-hour booking per day, with the possibility of an hour extension, if it was not booked, and another hour extension at the staff’s discretion. Twice, staff has used its discretionary power to deny me using the station for the final hour, even though the station was not booked at those times.

I was told the reason was that other patrons will enquire about it when it’s free.

In fact, I believe more patrons’ interest in the station will be piqued when a patron is creating something at it, than when it is idling.  Keeping the station busy is a win-win opportunity: the station gains more public exposure, which is the library’s goal, and patrons get more efficient use of its resources. This is not an art object for contemplation.

Also, bookings are now done on the half hour. Prior to that, bookings could be made at any time patrons were there. If a patron showed up at, say, 9:09 a.m., the patron could use the station till 1:09 p.m. With bookings on the half hour, now patrons will lose minutes of potential use. The reason the library gave was that it was “smoother” than to book at 9:39 or 9:49 hrs.

On the contrary, I believe, it is no easier to book at 9:30  or 9:39 or even 9:49 hrs for that matter. We are in the “digital age” using a “digitization station!” Is the library leading patrons back to the “stone age?”

Since I addressed the Library Board about my concerns, the situation has worsened. The discretionary hour has been eliminated. The library is claiming staff confusion because I asked that patrons be given specific reasons why they may not get the additional hour as opposed to being subject to the whims and vagaries of staff.

As well, the library is talking about reducing it to two hours! Is this effective and efficient use of taxpayers resources?

F. Chong




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