The Unclassifiable Library Remix

Monday, March 28, 2011

Common Sense

Over the past few years I seem to sense a decline in basic common sense.  I see it in the ridiculous lawsuits for products resulting in labeling that is even more ridiculous (i.e. do not iron clothes on body), watching people drive (left hand turn from the right hand lane - nice), and a myriad of other examples in every day life.  Has the ability to think for oneself been completely lost?  Not to mention the lack of ability to take responsibility for oneself when consequences arise from such no-brainer incidents. 

Today, I experienced another example of a complete lack of common sense - this time regarding using library materials.  First, let me explain how libraries work for those of you that are unfamiliar.  You borrow materials that belong to other people for a short time and then bring them back so that others may do the same.  Seems a simple premise, yet it seems to be quite difficult for many library patrons to understand.  Due dates, fines, and much more cause substantial consternation among library users who seem to not understand that these materials do not belong to them to use however and for as long as they want. 

Today, I received a complaint from a patron that was being charged a replacement fee for an interlibrary loan book she had decided to highlight.  Not only was it not her book, but it wasn't even our book.  I'd have felt bad enough if it had belonged in our library, but the fact that it was the property of another library made me feel even worse.  Her complaint was that she didn't feel entirely responsible as she had not been informed of a policy stating that patrons could not write in books.  Really????  Seriously????  This is something they have to be told????  Borrowing books that don't belong to you and you need this spelled out????  That's like saying hey you told me I could borrow your car but you didn't say I couldn't wreck it.  Is this not common sense?  I am used to the lack of responsibility exhibited in fine waiver requests (it's not my fault because....fill in the blank) but this goes far beyond that to the complete realm of WTF?!?!  Apparently common sense is becoming less and less common (whoever named it that was definitely an optimist) - maybe the phrase should be changed to the romantic languages translation of the phrase - "good sense." 

No comments: