New service coming

AT THE LIBRARY

“I need to print this file from my cellphone.”

“Can you print this picture of dog from my phone?”

“Please help me print this batch of text messages from my Android.”

“I can’t get my boarding pass to printout from my iPhone.”

Until very recently we apologized and commiserated with customers about not being able to help them. We simply didn’t have the technical capabilities to provide this service. Frankly, if you want to know the truth, I wasn’t all that keen to offer this service because I’ve learned that new technology services is often the biggest headache to implement and costly to acquire. Of course, as you well know, I’m not a fan of cellphones to begin with so I fussed for a while about this new trend. In the end however, I did my Capt. Picard imitation, waved my hand, and said, “Make it so.”

I probably should have done that Picard finger point and said, “Engage,” instead. Three months later, a new copier contract, multiple sessions with three different help desk/technical support IT geniuses, countless back-and-forth for instruction and clearer direction, some cussing and tears, and the occasional this-is-never-going-to-work feeling, are launching “Phone Print” service.

While we are excited to add this to our already extensive list of services, we do so with some caution. Please be aware, this is not a one-touch, here’s your print, process. To insure the confidentiality and privacy of your information, there are several safeguards that had to be part of the procedure. It will take at least five minutes for you to complete the Phone Print setup, which includes downloading an app and entering some information.

After that, there is the “give us your phone so we can enter a secret code” (which we will never tell you), pay us, and we will finally release the print job to the copier. Yes, this is one fine example of technology making life easier … NOT! How can something so technological be so labor intensive?

There are also several little quirks to be aware of. If you need a picture, it will print as an 8×10-inch. No other size is available. You can’t select print as black and white; color is the only option. Not everything will print and we don’t know why. Sigh! Finally, Phone Print costs $1 per page.

Perhaps you are wondering, as I have over the past several months, “Why is the library doing this? Why are they wasting their time for just a few people?” The answer is two-fold.

Customer service is critical to the library’s mission and it is our objective to meet our community’s needs with our available resources. We responded to this need because we are consistently being asked, day after day, if we offer this service.

The second reason we’ve implemented this service is because there is a quickly growing trend that public libraries are technology hubs and staff are competent in helping you to learn anything from getting an email account to downloading an e-resource.

In Mifflin and Juniata counties, the libraries try to fill niches in community needs that are not available by other service providers or businesses. Sometimes, you have to be a good neighbor and step on to the cutting edge so system and IT providers can move forward with the development of their products, which it turn, will benefit other small libraries who are being asked to provide this service in their community.

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New information about an old service: We now have state and federal tax forms. Please, please, please, do not argue with us about the federal form. THERE IS ONLY ONE FORM NOW! No more 1040A or 1040EZ. It’s all called 1040 now. We also have the schedules available to photocopy for 25 cents a page.

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Molly S. Kinney is the director at the Mifflin County Library. She is currently reading “The Other Woman” (Gabriel Allon #18) by Daniel Silva.

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