Why I Don’t Like The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County

where's google?

where’s google?

Yes, that’s the Google website from here at the library.  The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County system can’t find it.  The most popular website on the net and their system is telling me that it doesn’t exist.

I’ve been complaining about their poorly setup system for over a year with no response.  In fact I’ve gotten to the point that I’ve complained about their comment form on their site and wondered why they even bother having it since no one ever answers it.

It’s not just me either.  I’m sitting here with three over folks using their laptops and they get the error from time to time.  About 1 in 15 page views on average.  If I turned around I could watch those folks using the terminals hit the same problem.  If you sit here and just do CTRL-F5 refreshes on a site you’ll get it often as well.

What’s even worse is they keep winning “Library of the Year” awards from librarian organizations but yet they can’t fix this issue or even acknowledge it exists.

It’s really sad.

8 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Like The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County

  1. The server at the library I work for has similar trouble. I think it’s frequently overwhelmed. There used to be a gaggle of teens who’d come in and hoard all the available machines to play some massive RPG and everything else would pretty much grind to a halt. Heck, it takes the PC on my desk ten minutes to retrieve my profile from wherever the server keeps it. Pathetic.

  2. Mike,
    I had the same issues over at the Morrison branch while connecting over my laptop’s wireless card and / or iPhone. The issue seems to be a unforced dropped authentication session. When you first log in, you have to accept their terms. OK, fine. After a period of 5->45 minutes you will start to see that only pages that your browser has cached will show. Any on-line work stops.
    To fix it I close all of my browsers and start over again.
    To mitigate issues, I write everything I’m going to post on-line on Note Pad, save it, then start a new session and copy and paste in. Or use web software (like WordPress) that periodically backs up my efforts.
    More disturbing than the poor wireless architecture is the massive amount of security issues abounding. If you are going to use a wireless connection at that library, you better lock down your computer with the best antiviral programs possible. And never, ever, ever send passwords or sensitive info over their connections!

  3. Dear Mike,
    I want to sincerely apologize on behalf of the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County that you have experienced these issues. I became aware of your concerns late last week, and we have had a team looking into the issues you experienced both in regards to internet connectivity and customer service. I am aware that your concerns were not responded to as promptly and thoroughly as they should have been, and I am committed to making the process of contacting the library on our website easier and more transparent. Until that can be implemented, I am including my personal contact information so you and others can contact me with concerns. Cordelia Anderson, Deputy Director of Marketing and Communications, canderson@plcmc.org
    We have been working on the wireless system and testing it regularly this week, and hope that you will find an improvement in that service. If not, please let me or staff at the location know – we rely on customer feedback like yours to help us improve our services.
    Cordelia Anderson

  4. [A copy of the email I sent as a response.]
    I was wondering if I may have an update on my concerns. I’ve not heard anything back and timeouts, both with the Squid servers as well as in general are still an issue. They have improved somewhat within the last few weeks but they’re not at the level of where it should be. I’m currently sitting here at the Belmont branch and one minute of connectivity followed by 2-3 minutes of spinning browser icons is not a working network. This happened to me at Plaza Midwood this morning, as well as the Morrocroft and Sugar Creek branches yesterday. For reference, I use the same laptop at the Atkins library at UNCC, the Apple Store at South Park as well as many other places without these problems. Granted it may be a setting on my laptop but I would think that I would be having the same issue elsewhere with the same hardware.
    May I also ask what library staff member I should be reporting issues to? I do not know of any at the branches that I visit that are willing to take feedback concerning the wireless network. Most do nothing but hand me the wireless help sheet. I believe I’ve only had the issues passed on to IT a total of three times in recent memory and their response has been “reboot and try again” which did nothing to solve the issue.
    I have to admit though that I realize that most librarians are in the dark when it comes to IT. I mean no disrespect towards them with my complaints and realize that they’re caught in the middle. Both librarians and IT staff members have to realize that when a patron comes up to them and says that “I can’t get past the Squid server and no one else on wireless can either,” they may know what they’re talking about.
    Please also let me know what changes are being made that library administration can be made more aware of issues and complaints. This has been a concern of mine since 1991 when I moved to Charlotte, got charged for a previously damaged book, library administration refused to return my calls, and the only resolution I had was to cut up my card and hand it to a branch manager along with an explanation of what good customer service was and how the county library system lacked in it. This complaint has been raised a number of times since then and still there is never any follow up with the offices on 3rd floor. May I ask what’s being done to fix that problem?
    I thank you for your time,
    Dr. Mike Wendell

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