The definition of insanity…

So many moons ago when I was in the throes of an angsty phase, I was talking to my friend/therapist who calmly told me, “You know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result”.  I was flabbergasted by the thought at the time – it was a quasi-religious-no-shit-you’re-right moment.

I thought of that moment when I was sitting at a library not long ago just before closing time. The library had two doors at the front that during the day were both unlocked for patrons to come in and out of in either direction.  At about ten minutes to close, one set of doors was locked to help “manage incoming traffic” (whatever that means).  What this led to was a series of about 10-15 people all trying to use the locked door and the staff yelling out “that door is locked, use the other one”.  Because running into the locked door was not sufficient evidence to the poor patron.

I asked and apparently this is what they do every day

So every day about 15 people leave the library and the last experience they have is being embarrassed or frustrated for walking into a locked door and also having the mistake called out by a loud staff member.

Here’s a thought – a nice rope and sign to sling between the security/tattle tape gates just around closing time will have people bumping into a rope at worst – instead of a huge glass door.

Those fifteen people will walk out every day with that last moment at the library in their mind.  And while it might seem like a minor irritation and only slightly negative thing, it’s a part of the user experience.  You can get used to almost anything – and that is a crying shame. 

What policies or issues has your library staff gotten used to?  How is it harming patron-relations?  Don’t look at if from your point of view, look at it from theirs!


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