Library goes by the book

Please rest assured, “Go the extra mile” is not a phrase to be found in the Malibu Public Library. After having a disagreeable experience there some months ago, my wife no longer uses the facility. This Saturday, since she wanted to simply find a movie or two, she sent me down to the library. To my chagrin, I likewise had a very disagreeable experience.

After selecting several movies and audio CDs, I moved to the check-out counter a few minutes before 5 p.m., the standard closing time. When I reached the counter, the attendant swiped my library card and promptly exclaimed “Uh, oh! ” I inquired if there was a charge on my card and he replied in the affirmative. I apparently owed the library a grand total of six dollars.

Despite the fact that I had sufficient cash funds in order to pay the fine, neither the attendant nor his coworkers would accept my six dollar payment. One of the women proceeded to give me a lecture on the fact that the “bank” closes at five minutes until 5 p.m. (I was not previously aware that there was a “bank” at the library, but nonetheless.) In her lecture, she told me that I could return and pay the fine another day. As I kindly asked her if the princely sum I owed could simply be put to the side, and added in on the next day of operation, she said that it certainly was not “possible.”

This is a very amusing incident, I believe, but unfortunately one that is not so amusing in that too many of us have had to put up with such lousy customer service at the Malibu Public Library. I grew up in a small rural town in Oregon and despite the fact that facility is chronically underfunded, the librarians are always kind, considerate, and willing to “go the extra mile.” Maybe one of those librarians could come to Malibu and give the librarians here some courses on customer service.

Mike Blackwell

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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