An Open Letter to TUBDFTL Patrons # 5

It's been quite an eventful three months since your Librarian's last "Open Letter." The Library's Patronage has swelled by a staggering fifty-one percent (from 1001 to 1510 Patrons) and, as you might suspect, the demand for Library Dubbing Services has soared. During the same period 869 requests (totaling 1134 tapes dubbed) have been serviced.
The raffle was closed on schedule and the winners awarded their prizes. Though the level of participation was somewhat disappointing (less than five percent of the Patronage chose to participate), enough money was raised to purchase two used decks, buy a replacement idler motor for a third, and pick up some toner for the Library's HP Laserjet 6L. As two decks (D-1 and the notorious D-5) had failed and were beyond repair, they were discarded. The "Boom Box" was also temporarily retired. In short, though no increase in dubbing capacity was realized, the status quo was maintained. Both Lynne and I want to reiterate our gratitude to those that so generously demonstrated their support for the Free Tape Library concept. We are deeply touched.

On the down side, the Kenwood died a couple of weeks ago and is in the shop for repairs. Sadly, Circuit City is dragging their feet and taking their time in honoring the service contract. A repair that we were told would take five to seven working days has now been extended to "another couple of weeks." The upshot is that, in order to continue to service your requests in a timely manner, all decks have been pressed into servicing requests. This leaves no equipment available to prepare Library Masters. As a consequence, the "Uncatalogued Material and New Arrivals" page continues to grow and the backlog of uncatalogued material becomes increasingly intimidating. Accordingly, the Library is temporarily unable to responsibly engage in swaps. I should also mention that, though temporarily retired, it has become necessary to press the "Boom Box" back into service. Though it is being used solely to service the requests of those Patron's that have failed to follow procedures (expired authorization, unlabeled or improperly labeled tapes, and such), it carries enough of a load to keep the turnaround time on most properly submitted requests to a minimum. All single tape requests still go out within a day or two of receipt; two tape requests are running two or three days; three tape requests at about a week; and four tape requests are currently taking two or three week to make it to the dubbing queue.

Given the current circumstance, I'm afraid that it, once again, has become necessary to further reduce general access to the Library's Dubbing Services to but one selection every two months. As the Library normally suspends Dubbing Services in May, this means that those that submit, or have submitted, a request in March will not be eligible to submit another request until June. Those that submit a request in April will not be eligible to submit another request until July. Patrons that currently enjoy extended privileges will not be affected, as without their past support the Library would have ceased to exist some time ago. It is, of course, my hope that this will be but a temporary measure. Toward that end, the Library will be holding a second raffle, in hopes of generating sufficient funds to acquire enough additional gear to increase production to the point that it is feasible to, once again, entertain requests on a monthly basis.

For those that have inquired about Free Tape Library T-shirts, the scheme has been temporarily shelved. As we are not comfortable that Patron participation would justify the cash outlay required and the effort involved to launch and implement the project, we just don't think it's feasible to commit limited Library resources at this time.

Also on hold is the recruitment of additional "Volunteer Librarians." Though we still believe the concept to be sound, the logistics of implementation have proven to be far more than we can comfortably handle. This is not meant to in anyway disparage the efforts or commitment of those that have taken on the mantle and subsequently fallen by the wayside. Any shortcomings in the "Volunteer Librarian" program are due to my inadequacies and rest at my door. To those that have come and gone and to those that are still hanging in there, I tender my thanks and gratitude. With just a bit of luck, we'll revisit this in the not too distant future and lighten the burden of those that continue to work so hard on the patronage's behalf.

As always, your comments, criticisms, or suggestions are always welcome.
Until the next time, Take Care!
Simon
03/15/98

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