I had an extremely frustrating trip to the library today. It's sad, because I really truly appreciate what the Chicago Public Library does for the neighborhoods here,and I think they have incredibly admirable library goals in terms of their committment to interactive and helpful stuff. But... I can never find anything I'm looking for there. I'll look a book up a few days in advance and it will say it's on the shelf, then I show up at the big downtown library and it's not where it's supposed to be. I think I've maybe checked two books out there, simply because what I'm looking for is always missing. Today I was looking for Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble" because I wanted to look at it for something I'm writing soon; there were supposed to be THREE copies there, and there were, in reality, none. So I went and asked the information lady if I was in the wrong place, because their system of organization is a little confusing to me. She told me to look on the reshelving carts, and it was again absent. This is when she filled me in on the system of returns they have there.
Apparently, whenever any book is returned it goes straight to the third floor and into a giant bin, three and a half feet deep and five feet long. They don't move these bins to the sorting area until they're full. She told me it can take upwards of two weeks just for that step. Only then are they sorted and sent to be reshelved.
I mean, who thought of that?! You can't get what you want unless it's been turned in like a month prior to your desired date of checkout, and things that aren't on the shelf are listed as being avalaible. Grrr.