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procedures: you’re doing it wrong

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

My university has two campuses, one in Manhattan and the other in the Bronx. That means two separate libraries, with the university’s books split between the two locations. The Bronx collection is bigger becaue our campus is the main one. Since my program is based almost exclusively in the Bronx, almost all of the philosophy books are housed here in the Bronx.

Now, I live within walking distance of the latter but the library is on the opposite end of campus from where I usually go. I’m also not usually on campus, so going to the library typically means a special trip. Add to that, when I go into Manhattan for counseling, I pass by the library of the former. This means it’s usually much more convenient to pick up a book from the Manhattan library. And my school will deliver between the two libraries. So if I know I’m going to need a book from the Bronx and can wait a day or so, it makes sense to try to get them to send the book over to Manhattan. It’s just easier to get in and out there, for some reason.

Here’s the catch, though: to request a book be sent over you need to fill out a short form. In person – no phone requests, nothing online, or anything like that. So to get a book sent you have to go to a library not once but twice (or hang around 4-6 hours to wait for the book to get to you). This works great if you live out of the library, but not so great if you’re one of the students of my generation who prefer to access remotely and just go in every now and then to pick up books.

So they have a system that with a minor tweak (accepting remote requests, by phone or online or even by fax) could work *so well.* But it doesn’t. This would be a minor irritation for me if I wasn’t depressed so getting to campus was a challenge. But even without that the vast majority of grad students and even upper-level undergrads are scattered throughout NYC – often not so close to one campus or the other. I’m calling fail on this procedure.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
dwimordene_2011
Jan. 23rd, 2013 03:34 am (UTC)
It's sort of perversely comforting...
... to know that it's not just my religiously-affiliated institution that has really, really, abysmally stupid policies attached to the library (among other places of interest...).

May the bureaucrats of the library be enlightened this semester, so that the policy becomes workable and useful to all poor and harried scholars!

Dwim
marta_bee
Jan. 23rd, 2013 03:42 am (UTC)
Re: It's sort of perversely comforting...
You know, it's funny how much time and effort I've devoted to the question of whether religion and science (+ rationally discovered truth) are really at odds with one another. Here's an apparent counterargument. QED, and thanks for all the fish.

I do feel a little better knowing it's not just me...
dwimordene_2011
Jan. 23rd, 2013 04:19 am (UTC)
Re: It's sort of perversely comforting...
It's definitely not just you!

I don't think it's necessarily the *religious* aspect of the school that makes it do crazy things, but it's not exactly helping its case by letting an autocratic guy in a Roman collar micromanage us into stupidity, either.

Dwim
gardengirl6
Jan. 23rd, 2013 11:35 am (UTC)
Total fail! At UMass, you can request titles from any of the Five Colleges, online, even from your home library, and they'll pull them and have them ready at a hold desk. We have more than one library on the main campus (Science and Engineering are in their own building) and they'll bring those in as well. AND tell you when they're ready to pick up. So long as you know what you need, you don't even have to hit the stacks of the library where you'll pick up. Fordham definitely needs to get on board.
marta_bee
Jan. 23rd, 2013 12:56 pm (UTC)
I was spoiled by my undergrad school. Not only could you get scans of interlibrary articles or book chapters (up to about 40 pp.) from any state school in NC, you could even get that from your home school's library. I lived across the street from the library for most of my time there and I liked spending time in the stacks, but even so I quite liked being able to rely on that in a pinch, especially over the summer.

Fordham is behind the curve on a lot of technology things. Not cutting-edge technology, but just making things available. You used to have most students living nearby, but apparently that expectation changed in the last few years and the uni is still playing catch-up with what that means.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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