Friday, June 06, 2008
On the Road
Ever since I have been here, I have been talking about going "On the Road with Bob." Bob is the LEPMPL staff member who, five days a week, drives and collects the materials returned to the eight book drop locations around Eau Claire. [Update, 5/25/2014 - There are now 10 locations.] Take a look at the map, and you will soon realize what an incredible service this is to the community. Library staff empty the drops six days a week (Monday through Saturday). Monday through Friday, Bob does it. Bob is a retired library custodian who has been doing this now for about 4 and a half years. It is a great fit, he gets some part time work, and would normally be up at that hour. He is incredibly reliable, and committed to doing a great job.
I got to the Library at 5:15 or so, and went to my office. It was still quite dark out! I then headed to the office where Bob hangs out. We headed off in the van. My Flickr account shows all the photos I took, and the notes are a narrative of some of the morning.
Our first stop was at the supermarket right by my apartment. We then visited each of the book drops in a giant "anti-clockwise" circle around the City. (Look at the map, and you will see why I describe it that way.
One advantage of riding shotgun was that I was actually able to sit and look at what we were passing. It is rare that I am a passenger in the town, and when driving, I try to pay more attention to the traffic than the passing scene.
I have a few final comments on my adventure today....
I still find it incredibly wild how many book drop locations we have. People in this community do not have any idea how unique that is. Second, even though we get a good volume of returns through these book drops, people still have to come downtown to actually get their items, so it has not really affected our circulation, but I think it has helped reduce our loss rate. Third, the fit between a person and a job is critical. For this job, Bob is a great choice. He has all the right qualities and enjoys it! That is very important.
Added challenge to my non-Eau Claire readers: Is there any other public library which has as many off-site places to return library materials? Remember, the eight locations in Eau Claire are at convenience stores and grocery stores, not at branches or even other government offices. I contend that Eau Claire is unique and has more off-site places to return materials than any other public library.