November 11, 2006

Library Systems Too Complex!


A few months ago, I started the Libraries for My Friends blog, in which I try to help my friends use their local library. I'd send this to some non-library friends, and one of them just asked if I could help her brother find audio books in his library.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? Especially for a super-librarian such as myself? (modesty mode OFF). You'd be wrong if you thought that.

First, I found the list of Oklahoma's libraries. Not intuitive for someone not from OK. I browsed around to see if I could find a list of databases available statewide; preferably something that included Overdrive or maybe even an Audible account.

Nope; had to do an reference interview with my friend to find out where in OK her brother lives. Answer: Oklahoma City. Back to the list of OK libraries to find the Oklahoma City Library page. Since it's called the "Metropolitan Library System", I am not positive I'm on the right page, but I'll take it on faith.

Poke around to see if I can find a list of databases, preferably something that lists audio books. No such luck. Go to their catalog link. Wha ... ??

Gamely click on "logon anonymously". Again I said "wha ..." ? Clicked on "catalog" at the top and said the now-familiar "wha ...", sighed, and went back to he Metropolitan Library System home page. Searched for "audio" and found some tips for finding audio items in the catalog (under resources for the visually impaired).

You can read the uncensored version of the instructions at the L4MF blog.

But really: why does it have to be so darn hard? Libraries I actually work in are not much better; I really don't mean to pick on OK City. It's no wonder our patrons don't come to us for help -- it's so much easier to go to Google, buy from Amazon (if we're lucky to have $$) or do without.

1 comment:

Hillary said...

I'm with you, Stephanie! As a patron, I would've been put off by having to log in to get to the catalog and probably wouldn't even go the extra step to log in anonymously, just because it's ANNOYING! We need to make it easier for our patrons, not harder. Good discussion!