An Open Letter to TUBDFTL Patrons # 4

It's been a couple of weeks since your Librarian's last epistle and a week since resuming Library Dubbing Services, so I thought it time to take a moment to; bring you up to date on the transition to the new system; compliment those that have read and adopted the new procedures; castigate those that haven't; try and separate you from a little of your hard earned money; and to give you an idea of the direction the Librarian sees the Library taking in the months ahead.

I must admit that I grossly underestimated the pent up demand for the Library's dubbing services. Requests have been coming in at the rate of about twenty a day (146 since resuming Library Dubbing Services) and the Library now boasts 1001 Patrons. It's been an hectic week! Fortunately, most Patrons have adopted the new procedures for submitting requests. The resulting savings in time and effort required to process the requests and issue authorizations have offset the demands of the increased workload.
In order to encourage universal adoption of the new procedures for submitting requests, it is my intent to shelve those requests that don't comply, and process them but once a week. Those that comply will be processed as received (The Librarian checks E-mail four or five times a day) and will enjoy preferential treatment in the dubbing queue.
I wish I could say that the automation of the assignment of New Patron IDs has gone as smoothly as the processing of Patron requests and Issuance of authorizations. Though tested before implementation, the day after going "Live" a few gremlins appeared. Consequently I'm back to handling the process manually until I can find the time to correct the problems. The glitches have already been identified (one in a REXX script that creates the Patron's folder for the E-mail client, and another in FoxPro that checks for duplication of Patron accounts) so, with just a bit of luck, I'll get it all resolved over the weekend.

In previous "Open Letters" I've alluded to the need for additional dubbing equipment. It was my hope that a few Patrons had unwanted gear gathering dust in a garage or an attic that we might put to use. Such, it appears is not the case. Another deck died last week so I've added a "Boom Box" to the dubbing queue for the time being. This is just a "stop gap" measure and it will only be used when other resources are exhausted. It's primary function will be to deal with the two or three parcels of tapes that arrive each day that require individual attention (tapes of improper length, expired authorizations, and such). As such requests tend to tie up the dubbing equipment for an inordinate amount of time, I suspect its use in these "special" cases will alleviate a good bit of the congestion in the dubbing queue and help prolong the life of the other dubbing gear that remains functional.

Given the positive response to the T-shirt scheme, I'll no doubt proceed with that after the first of the year. The question is then raised, what about suitable artwork for the T-shirts? My current inclination is to have a contest and invite submissions from Patrons. The submissions would be displayed on the Library web site and would be selected (voted on) by the patronage at large. A modest prize would go to the creator of the winning entry. Revenues generated by the T-shirt sales will go towards acquiring additional dubbing gear.

With an eye towards testing the waters and generating a bit of cash to mitigate operating expenses (they are becoming significant), the Library will hold a raffle. If you feel particularly lucky, or just want to help support the Library fiscally, check out the link and buy a raffle ticket or two.

As I've previously mentioned, the "Volunteer Librarian" program is going to be expanded and other "Volunteer" functions implemented. Patrons so inclined will soon have the opportunity to help out by contributing their labor. I've been working on "job descriptions" and should have the "Help Wanted" page up sometime next week. If you see a position that interests you, be sure to apply!

I would be remiss if I closed without thanking the "Volunteer Librarians" for their continuing labors or if I failed to give a tip of my hat to those that have taken the time to otherwise participate in the continued growth of the Library. It's that kind of selfless involvement that leaves me no doubt that the Library will still be viable this time next year!

As always, your comments, criticisms, or suggestions are always welcome.
Until the next time, Take Care!
Simon
12/10/97

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