Reader's Exchange

No time (or reason) for summertime blues

Ah, summertime at the place across from the Main Street Plaza fountains.  We're also known as Rocksssanne's home or the library, where incidentally, you can still enter the adult summer reading program if you hurry, and where we daily witness the joys of vacation time.

Joy, yes.  Leisure, no.

Summer reading program stats for all ages are soaring.  So, too, are mountains of materials to be checked in and re-shelved.   More visitors with more genealogy questions, teachers happily loading up on books they typically don't have time to enjoy, young customers with hours to fill: all demonstrate why folks around here view the library as a top summertime destination.

Flip-flipsWe like to think that the vibe on the other side of the service counter feels relaxed.  It appears so: flip-flips softly thunking as they convey patrons with bags of beach reads, smiling parents shepherding kids back out to the car, cognizant that the contents of the program just attended will be rehearsed all the way home.

A popular question these days concerns hours for the Main Street Plaza fountains.   (Other timely, albeit less entertaining, water wisdom can be viewed on City of Round Rock's Water Conservation pages.)

We're never too busy to enjoy reactions of triumphant grownups scouting for the Pop-Up Prize sign with an accompanying giveaway at the reference desk.  (Hint:  This being the last week of Summer Readers' Bonanza, we're putting out more frequent freebies).   Yesterday, a savvy reader spotted a prize from clear across the room and squealed, "Yesssss!"  to the amusement of onlookers. 

Water and prizes aren't the only elements appealing to one's inner child.  Sharing (a year-round challenge) is a principle we encounter early on and never cease considering.

In a recent related chat, a library patron recommended a substantial policy change, then listened patiently while I extolled the values of the procedure in place. 

The issue:  study rooms.  Check into a library study room (no reservations-first come, first served, one turn per day) and it's yours for an hour.  That's the minimum; if no one else is waiting, you can stay on.  But on high-traffic days, we'll need to re-assign the room as others queue up for a turn. 

Given a population of over 100,000 and only five study rooms, this scheme works very well.   The nicely-spoken gentleman agreed with nearly all of it.

The inconsistency he highlighted:  some folks (if they're lucky and study room traffic dissipates after they check in), may get more than an hour.   To be perfectly fair, he suggested, we should kick everyone out after their hour. 

Acknowledging his excellent point, I explained that we've chosen to err on the side of chance and generosity, so that everyone gets fairness at minimum and will likely benefit from fairness-plus sometimes.  Nobody ever claimed that sharing was easy.

The discussion ended pleasantly.  It's easier to be gracious when you believe you're in the right (and we both did). 

And perhaps we were subconsciously soothed by the distant splashing of the fountains... 

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