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Is it fair?

May 21, 2011

One of the things I was told about staff putting holds on items is that occasionally staff members will be bumped down the hold list–not a lot, but a little–to let in some regular patrons.  I didn’t think much of it–it made sense to me the first time I heard it–but I found the other day I was bumped from position 2 to position 6, and I thought, “That’s unfair.”

Here’s the thing: We’re already not allowed to take out anything that’s specially set as new, the items that have shortened due dates and no renewals–and THAT makes perfect sense to me.  Because we get everything ready an hour before we open, we have access to the returns far before anyone else does.  Say there’s a copy of Black Swan in the new stuff, and we all want it.  If not for the fact that we can’t take them out, I could go in, check the item in, take it out on my account, and bring it back, where another member of the staff could do what I did, and those items just wouldn’t get to the patrons.  So we end up on the hold list like everyone else, and that makes sense.  Sure, I check in The King’s Speech for the new racks a couple times a week, and I’m something like 90th on hold right now, but it makes sense to me.  It’s FAIR…ish.  (It does sort of suck when you’re 90th on the list and THERE IT IS ON THE SHELF on Saturday when we close, and you’re not open Sunday, and some staff members–in the system, not in my branch specifically–must’ve said, “Screw it, it’s not like anyone can take it out anyway now till Monday morning” because when I first started there was a whole THING about it going around so now I guess that doesn’t happen.)

But seeing myself pushed down on a hold list makes me realize how unfair that is FOR ME.  Don’t get me wrong, I see how it works.  It isn’t about staff members putting themselves ahead, although I guess we can manipulate the system that way, although I don’t.  It’s actually about ordering, in my opinion.

I do children’s ordering and–for now–juvenile and young adult ordering too.  However, when I order a book, what I DON’T do is make a record for it in the system.  There’s a whole department that does that, over at the main branch.  So when I order a book, I can’t put myself on the hold list, even though I’m the one who ordered it!  Just like everyone else, I have to wait until the entry is made in the system.

The new Sarah Dessen book came out.  I saw the release date for it and thought, “Hey, I should put a hold on that.”  Like any other patron, I went into the system, looked up the book, and put a hold on.  But because I’m staff, I was pushed down the list.

However, I can see the reason for the rule.  If the people in that department aren’t allowed to take all the early positions in the hold list, I SUPPOSE the rest of us shouldn’t either, in solidarity.  But that’s all it feels like, solidarity.  It doesn’t seem like a practical decision, like the new stuff.

What do you think?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Joelle permalink
    June 1, 2011 9:18 pm

    I agree with you, and I didn’t realize we get pushed down…most of the new things that I put myself on the list for, there’s some regular patrons interspersed among the staff and I always wondered how people know to ask for something when it isn’t out yet.

    • June 2, 2011 7:09 am

      Wish List. It’s the same thing as ILL, I think. That’s why patrons get the little notice inside some of the books that say “You asked for it? You got it!”

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