It is with great pride and only trace amounts (think the amount of actual meat in hot dogs) of arrogance that I boldly claim the majority of BPL patrons walk, skip, or sashay away from the library satisfied. Needless to say, we aim to please, and we usually deliver a positive experience. However, nobody bats 1.000 (unless you’re this guy), and we’re not impervious to striking out from time to time.
Earlier this week, we received an e-mail from a patron who was highly distraught about difficulties she was encountering attempting to download a particular library e-book. The e-book checkout process and general Overdrive experience are notorious patience testers for our patrons, and while we’re constantly looking for ways to implement a more ideal, user-friendly system, we’re not quite there yet, and we readily admit we’re several steps short of perfect in this regard. Occasional frustration is to be expected. So, even though our disgruntled patron’s e-mail was infused with a level of drama that had me picturing her with one hand on the keyboard and one hand cradling Yorick’s skull, her feelings were valid, and her criticism justified. Confronting inadequacy is never fun, but there’s nothing to do but own it and do your dangedest, and if immediate improvement isn’t possible, find the best workable solution. I explained our e-book system to her, warts and all (the specific wart that had triggered her vitriol was the fact that a Fort Worth-owned e-book found in our catalog cannot be checked out with her Benbrook card), and let her know that while I regrettably couldn’t change the whole system and bring instant gratification, there were steps I could take to eventually get her the e-book she wanted. I give her massive credit for being very understanding and appreciative of my explanation. Things looked bleak at the beginning of our exchange, and while we weren’t able to bring things to a perfectly pleasing resolution, we concluded on an infinitely sweeter note, and I’m confident this patron would now shake my hand rather than spit in my face should our paths ever cross.
While it’s too bad we’ll never have a Paciorek-ian record of unblemished success here at the library, we’re at peace with that. From time to time, inevitably, things are gonna go wrong, people are gonna feel wronged, and there’s gonna be some raging against the machine. We hope you never have to experience wronging or raging on account of us, but if you do, please, do us a favor and tell us about it. We won’t always hit a homerun, but more often than not, we’ll make solid contact.