This is a time when most libraries are facing cuts. No library is safe, well, mostly.
The library that I go to, Exeter Library, is facing these cuts too. They’ve got rid of some of their paid staff and replaced them with volunteers who stick Bram Stoker’s Dracula in the D section (no joke).
Their public computers have been broken for the last eleven months or so. I have written a complaint form to them (six months ago) and nothing was done. I have mentioned the faults to a librarian and, despite him telling me that he reported the issues, nothing was done.
It would be churlish to complain knowing that my library is facing cuts and is therefore not able to spare their budget. But I simply am too angry not to complain now.
Exeter Library’s computers have many faults. These are some of them. Bear in mind that these faults happen every day and have happened on every computer that I have used in the library:
1 The computers logs me out of Twitter at least three times a session.
2 The computer towers make a whirring-whining noise if you ask it to do anything. Especially if you have more than two windows open.
3 The computer towers are overheating so much that you can sniff a whiff of hot plastic.
4 The computers constantly freeze (the last two days, they froze for ten minutes at a time).
5 The computers will say that they can access a site for no reason upon the Earth.
6 The computers will say that “the script is too long” as a reason why they freeze.
7 The computers will sometimes fail to load a picture.
8 The windows will swap around for no reason (usually after they freeze).
9 The thumbnail pictures that appear will show images that belong to another window or browser.
10 The computers will stop working as you are writing a sentence, not tell you that they have paused, and make you write again.
11 The computers won’t allow the text you are writing to appear, therefore making you write it out again.
12 The computers will make you wait a minute until they respond (most usually when you want to save/paste a picture/text.
13 The computer towers go silent, after making a racket, thus pausing everything on the screen.
14 Lack of librarian help. The nearest one is generally ten to fifteen metres away out of sight. They are too far away to call over unless you get up and find one, and if you get up, your computer is usually stolen by another person. Not that it matters if you find a member of staff, they can’t help.
15 If you use a CD-ROM or a memory stick, the computer towers act like a stabbed pig and squeal.
16 General slowness that occurs frequently and randomly. You think that you can click on something and it works straight away? Think again.
17 Computer screens refreshing themselves.
18 Ghosting. This is where an image of a window will appear ghostlike upon the window you are currently accessing.
19 Having to close windows down because the computers refuse to access a site it had no problems with previously.
20 Sites distrusting the library computers when they trust other computers. Not really a fault if you enjoy endlessly giving sites your email address because they think your computer is a security risk.
21 Constantly give you messages telling you that they need to troubleshoot a problem despite nothing from my viewpoint being wrong.
22 Refusing to load pictures or the formatting of the website. You see a white screen with the text higgly-piggly on the screen.
23 Logging you out either a minute before you are due to, or a minute after you are due to log out.
These are just some of the problems, in no order, they have. Every. Single. Day.
Now, I mentioned that I complain. Can you guess the response of the library? Sheepish grin. Shrugging of shoulders. Mumbles about telling the big boss all about the problems. Rinse and repeat.
I wrote a complaint upon a compliant form and got a response telling me that they have received the complaint form.
These problems cause me to swear under my breath so often that I worry about cursing out aloud and getting myself kicked out of the library. I dream about throwing the computer across the room and screaming like a banshee. It is so mind-numbingly infuriating that I have to remind myself about the budget problem that the computer has.
And it isn’t just me. I have seen other people storm off in frustration, giving up and leaving, swearing and giving the computer the ol’ hairy eye treatment.
I feel like a jackass for wanting to complain. I love the library, I really do. I have used it for the past twenty-nine years since I was five. It is one of my favourite places in Exeter.
So. Exeter Library. Please, for the love of Cthulhu, fix the computers!