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Letter: There are problems with the new library system

Posted: September 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.

I was skeptical about the city’s ability to run our libraries properly, especially given the haphazard planning that went into it. I decided to be optimistic and give it a chance. I have tried our new libraries now, and they do not measure up to what we received from the county.

I went to the Newhall branch to check out books for my kids. It was hot inside, per one of the employees, because “No one knows how to work the air conditioner.”

There were four employees standing around. They could not answer the most basic questions. I asked for help finding some books — they were clueless.

They got help from one person in the back who was helpful. However, when I asked about return dates and renewals, no one knew the answer. They went to the front counter, picked up a pamphlet and unsuccessfully searched for the answer. After more research, they seemed to have an answer.

Upon checkout, the fancy RFID system that we spent $312,000 on was not working.

Weeks later, I was surprised to get an automated call from LSSI saying materials were past due.  I gathered everything up and went to the Valencia branch. I asked about what was overdue and if so, how much was owed.

I was met with blank stares; no one knew the answer. They urged me just to turn everything in, which I did, and I left with no answer. Later, I found I had been hit with almost $10 in overdue fees.

I have been told that city employees are “volunteering” at the libraries. Is this true? Are they on the clock with the city? Why is this needed?

The city will never admit there are problems. I hope The Signal will look into this.

Finally, I am not a union member or supporter, just someone that wants our libraries to work at least as good as they used to.


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