Thursday, June 16, 2011

The dominion of the monitor

“There's a book on hold for me,” I say to the student librarian at our university science library. She is blonde and pale and stiff, and seems untrained and unskilled and unwilling. “I'm moving to another computer; I don't want to reboot,” and she walks away with my card, returns with two books. “There's another on hold at the arts library,” she reads from the monitor. “Thank you; it's here,” I say. “No, it's at arts.” “It's here – there is a sign on the arts door that they are closed and all their holds are here.” “It says arts.” “It's here.” “But the screen says arts; I wouldn't know how to find it … “ “Maybe try looking on the hold shelves …. ?” I am firm and insistent. She returns with the book I know was there, mystified that something tangible has contradicted what the screen shows. I too am befuddled, wondering at the dominion of the software.

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