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Better Waiting in Westerville

   May 28th, 2009

restaurant pagerHere's an interesting idea:

The Westerville (OH) Public Library has wii and Xbox 360 set up in the library for patrons to use. The games are popular, of course, and often have a waiting list.

To improve the patron experience, their Friends group purchased a set of restaurant pagers (those disks with flashing lights and vibrations that alert people when their table is ready), which the library uses to let patrons know when it's their turn to play.

I thought this was a great idea. These pagers could also be used when patrons have to wait for computers or study rooms, or anything, really. They require staff time to manage, but they seem more efficient than a sign-up sheet, and they have the added benefit of letting patrons use the library while they're waiting, instead of being stuck in one spot.

Good job, Westerville.

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2 Responses to “Better Waiting in Westerville”

  1. Auntie Nanuuq Says:

    In light of the current budget situation I don’t think this is “better waiting”…how do we justify spending money on high priced electronic gadgets when we can’t even afford books, staff, or open hours?

    This is just another electronic fad…it’s breakable, expensive, and I’ll bet it’s not repairable.

    What a waste of money…..

  2. Liz Says:

    In the instance cited (the Westerville library), the Friends of the Library group purchased them FOR the library. As such, it appears that it did not affect their budget at all, and it cost the library nothing but training time.

    Of course, this is also a library that can afford Nintendo Wii and xBox 360, so that may be another part of it.

    Having never worked in a library, but having been a patron for lo my many 20-some years, I think this would be extremely helpful. I thoroughly enjoy restaurants that give these out – so much easier than having someone shout out names.

    A quick google search told me that the systems range in price from a few hundred dollars for a small, less-than-10-pager system to several thousand for large quantities; my guess would be that libraries would use the smaller systems.

    To Brian’s point, the system allows patrons to make better use of the library than sitting and waiting to hear their names called, which, to me, would mean happier, more satisfied patrons.

    While each library is different, I don’t think the idea of pagers should be roundly dismissed simply because of perceived expense.