Book locations: 9 reasons why our library sucks

Since quite a few people were impressed with the pictures of our library café, I felt it was necessary to bring you all back down to earth with this post. The café might be lovely and the courtyard the nicest bookish hangout you can imagine, however, the library itself sucks.

It is a large library, it serves a city of about 500.000 people and has various branches all over the city with one main library in the center. It also has so-called "book buses" that visit schools on a regular schedule to enable pupils to get books even if their parents don’t take them to the library.

The main library is being renovated at the moment so part of it had to be moved to various nearby buildings, but the transition seems to have gone smoothly and it does not seem to be some improvised arrangement, but it looks as if everything works fine (the renovation will be going on for another year or two, I think).

So, what is not so great about this bookish place?

  • The opening times. The library opens at 11am and closes at 6pm, except for Wednesdays when it doesn’t open at all. Saturdays it is open for 3 hours and Sunday – that goes without saying, because it is the Day of the Lord and we are in God fearing Bavaria – it is closed again. Oh, hold on, wait a minute, on Thursdays it’s open one hour longer, until 7pm. That’s when all the people who have to work for a living might make it there to rush through it.
  • The staff is not really that helpful and/or friendly. There are some people who could actually work in the free economy and succeed, but all in all they are as friendly as Rosa Klebb.
  • It offers no events to speak of. When it does they take place in some suburb branch.
  • The few English books on offer are about two decades old. I am aware it is a German library but you would think that nowadays they would make sure that they are a tiny bit multilingual.
  • The late fees are outrageous.
  • They charged me late fees for one of the boys even though they accumulated because the book bus returned to his school only after the due date.  Is that my fault?
  • At the moment there are two buildings and, of course, various departments, each with their own return desk. If you have three books, let’s say a children’s book, a novel and a non fiction book you have to go to three different return desks in two buildings to return three books.
  • They have about four different cashiers (to pay the late fee), but invariably if you want to pay at a desk they will say “You can pay just about anywhere but not with me.”
  • Their website is boring, bleak and uninformative, apart from the standard info like opening times etc. If you don’t know the library and think, “I’m going to check out their website to see whether it is worth joining” you will undoubtedly decide against becoming a member.

So you think a nice café compensates for that? I don’t.

9 Comments Write a comment

  1. I didn’t know you were living in the DDR. Didn’t know that country still existed, but it seems so…

    Not a great library indeed. I’m surprised they don’t have many events on. Even my library, catering for a population that is 10% of yours, has events every now and then.

    It sounds like it could be a good library if someone really sorted it out a bit better. It’s a pity it’s like this, and it will stop people from going, which is an even bigger pity!
    Leeswammes (Judith)’s last post ..New Arrivals!

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  2. Stop complaining, will ya!?
    I live in a town with about 20.000 inhabitants and a library that’s open on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 15:00 and 18:30 … they offer roughly 8.000 fiction books, 3.000 non-fiction and 2.000 children’s books (according to the info on the hompage of my hometown). They have no website, they don’t even have a phone. Needless to say I never dared to check it out, because I would probably run away crying.
    On the upside, I live close to Vienna which has several large libraries. But getting on the train costs me both money and time so in the end it’s no-library-for-me.
    Birgit’s last post ..Review – Blood Red Road Moira Young

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    • Oh, Birgit, I can see that you are in a much worse position than I am. But still you have to take into account that a city of 500.000 deserves a bit better than what we have.

      We should organize a libray comparison blog hop or something similar. God knows what is going to come to light there…

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  3. @Kasumi, I think our library also offers classics plus some general fiction, but rather dated. No idea why they don’t stock up on more contemporary books. Mayeb the demand is not so great.

    @Claire, thanks for the link to screwy decimal, very interesting. Actually I don’t think that my library struggles financially and that is why they have cut donw services. They have been like that re opening hours etc. forever. They just are not very customer oriented.

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