Friday, April 26, 2013

The Public Library: Why Does It Have To Be So Uninviting? I Thought It Was For The People?

So I come to the library today to get some stuff done including using their vast resources from books and magazines to DVDs and Tapes. It all started as I was walking into the building. I had a bottle of sparkling water in a glass bottle. You know, that famous brand of sparkling water with a dark green bottle that looks almost like a Heineken or other beer bottle. I knew they wouldn't let me in with it so I chugged what was left and while I was doing so some guy behind me said something rude about getting drunk at the library. I said to him, "Haven't you ever heard of sparkling water before asshole". This didn't go over well with the old man but I couldn't have cared less. Well I get there about 4:30 PM thinking I had a few hours of time left to stay there and get work done. Boy was I wrong. First of all I walked into the building and asked the lady for the current WiFi password since they change it every few days (why I have no idea. If you give it away to anybody with a library card, I think a hacker, cracker, script kiddie, or whatever you want to cell them, why change it every 3 days? As a information security expert, I know that it would be easy as pie to capture other people's association/disassociation packets in a matter of minutes or maybe hours depending on how many people are using the WiFi at the time. I'm sure the dumb library staff wouldn't know better, so I'll give them that. They also say that they turn off the WiFi access point 10 minutes before they close, but I'll get to that later.

So I go up to the lady who gives you the WiFi password of that day and she made me scan my library card and it comes up that I owe almost $20 in late fees and I have to pay them today to use the WiFi. Well after a while of arguing of how I don't have any money right now but I just want to use the resources at the library and not bring anything home. Finally she reluctantly gave me the password. Then I try to enter it into the program that controls my WiFi chipset, and that can only handle numeric values, not even hexadecimal. It took me another 10 minutes or so to figure out how to work around it (I just used windows to control my WiFi connections). Then when I finally got it working, I could barely get anything done because the lady came and told me at 4:50 that they were closing in 10 minutes! I asked her if they were closing early today and she said that they always close at this time on Friday's. The worst parts was that I was waiting for my computer to authenticate to the wireless access point and get and IP address so I had my head down a little and my eyes closed. I know she thought I was just either a bum who was being a mooch for a place to go and get out of the heat and use free internet, or that I was a student who wasn't doing any school work that I obviously had to do, since I look about 10 years younger than I am. So I set out to put back the periodicals I was looking at.

When I went to the counter and asked if I had to put the magazines and such in the chronological order and they said don't worry about it and to just leave them all on the table. I didn't want them to have to do it because that's not their job to clean up after me (well maybe it is a little bit). So I spend the rest of the 10 minutes putting them all back in place looking at the dates and getting them in the right spot. Then I go to the lady at the desk and told her thinking she would be happy, but all she did was be rude and say, "Next time just leave them there! We said put them on the desk otherwise they'll be out of order." I went out of my way to put them in the right spot and all I got in return is to be reprimanded. She simply thinks that because I'm young and have clothes that look like the "young punks" in their eyes would wear. Well it's not too hard to see that January 2013 comes after December 2012 and before February 2013, even a dumb college graduate who who finished top two or three in his class like me can do something that menial.

And since I owe so much I can't check anything at all out now until I pay off my debt. A debt that was obviously and accident since I didn't even know I had it! So I spent all my time there finding material to research with, connect my laptop to the WiFi password and then I had to put it all away and leave. I don't understand why they make the hours so strange. It seems that during the day when most people are at work and most kids are at school but they are always open during those hours (except Sunday when it's always closed). Then on Friday they have to close early? Kids only got out of school 2 hours ago, do they not have homework on the weekend? Or projects that they need to work on for the future? And to make it even worse, during the summer months which are soon coming up, the library hours are even shorter. They spend a whole bunch of money to build a library that is 4 times as big as the last one, and fill it full of expensiveequipment and things like DVD movies, audio CDs, and more. But they can't even skimp on the technology that nobody uses anyways and hire some more workers? I would love to work there, talking books all day and helping people use the computer. Well it might be annoying sometimes so maybe I should say like to and not love to work there. But nobody who works average hours could make it there before they close, let alone get anything done there. And what if their kids wanted to get a book to read or a educational video to watch over the weekend? Well you're out of luck. The only time kids should go to the library - when the school is closed - its closed as well.

So I leave the building after putting everything away where it goes and getting bitched at about helping out (I guess that's all those old lady's have to offer in life), I go outside to sit on the lawn. Luckily my laptop battery works, my old laptop battery bit the dust about a month after I got it. They say that they turn the WiFi router off a few minutes before closing time, but I've been here after they close and sat outside and used the internet, and today isn't any different. I'm on the lawn of the library now and still using the internet from their access point. Hopefully somebody doesn't see me on my laptop and turn off the access point as well. For some reason if an old person wants to bring his laptop and read his stupid email and type at 2 minutes/word (that's right, not 2 word/minute). But now my battery is going low and now I have to find a place with a strong enough signal from the access point that is next to a power outlet.

Why do they have to make it so difficult? There are more than just kids who use the library, and there are many more students using it than just elementrary school kids. High school kids have very different hours than younger kids, they stay up later and get out of school earlier sometimes. But what about the college student? Most college students have to hold down a s job and do all thier school work at the same time, so where does this leave them when they need to use a library? We live in a small suburb town of Las Vegas, named Boulder City that is very small so all the college libraries are located at least 20 miles away.

I better hurry and charge this laptop and move otherwise I know some library lady is going to come and kick me off the property soon if she sees that I'm using the plug to power my laptop as well as the internet service that they should have shut down. Well don't blame it on me, if it is still up, I will use it. If not then I will leave. But I have a strong feeling that I'm going to be forced out and not decide to leave because there is no internet. I could just as well be at home or a friends house but I like all the material they have to research from here at the library. Also it's nice and quiet and nobody bothers you (except when it's closing time). But for now I don't want to walk anywhere and it's actually pretty nice outside. I would take off my sure and try to tan a little but I know that somebody here would definitely have a problem with that.

So I ask: Why can't the library be more 'public'? Hire more workers or use volenteers to extend the hours. Change the hours so during the day when kids are at school and adults are working the library isn't just sitting there unused. It took me like 10 times as long to get here, find my material I wanted to use, and sign in for the WiFi than I had to actually do any work (if I could). I could go on longer about this place, but I think that is enough for now ;)

If you feel like I do about the library and would rather just skip all the hassle, why not get an ebook reader and never step foot in a library again. My mom has a Nook and she loves it. Especially when she travels. I wish I had one, I wouldn't have to ever come back here again! Plus being able to carry hundreds or thousands of books and periodicals on one device small enough to fi