January 22, 2017
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HI 55 / LO 36

Fix It: Northside Library book drop

Inconvenient location and function frustrates library patrons


5
BY BRIAN PASSINO
bpassino@kenoshanews.com


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Today’s problem:

Ed Groelle wrote Fix It about the Northside Library’s drive-up book return.

“A few years ago, when the Northside Library was renovated, someone decided to play an apparent joke on library users. The (book) return drive-up box is located in the center of a concave arc, which makes returning books from one’s car an impossible task. Evidence of anyone having tried are the back left rear wheel tire marks on the concrete curb. Even if someone could get close enough it would require using the left arm to hold down the door and insert the books, which is a tricky maneuver in itself. Why can’t there be a push-in flap on the box?”

Groelle continues, “Has anyone actually seen some one using this? All I’ve ever seen are people parking six feet away and then walking up to the box.”

Groelle says he has severe arthritis in his knees and hips which makes it painful to get in and out of the car and that the ice and snow of winter increases the risk of slipping and falling when walking to the box to use it.

“How would anyone purposely build something that is impossible to use? Aren’t these designs checked by more than one person and tested out before and after construction? It certainly is possible to move the box to a useable area.”

Groelle also asks anyone that agrees to put a note in the suggestion box inside the library.

Observations:

Wow, what a book drop-off box. It’s surrounded by and armored with no less than nine heavy pylons about four feet tall. A viewer can see where vehicles have jumped the curb on the pointy end while trying to pull forward to the box or scrubbed their tires on that curving curb after they’ve used the box.

In comparision, the drop off boxes at the Southwest branch are fairly easy to use; the drop-off box at the Simmons branch somewhat less easy. Fix It hasn’t used the Northside box.

Possible solutions:

One idea is that maybe the library could offer to have a staffer run out to the curb entrance to take books from someone who is unable to reach the box.

Yes, another idea would be to relocate the box to a more convenient location (like underwater, which in this case might actually be more accessible.) On the other hand, if you are able to, we could all use a bit more exercise so maybe parking and walking might just be easier.

Fix It contacted Barb Brattin, director of the Kenosha Public Library, for a response.

Library responds:

Brattin wrote, “We are equally frustrated with the position of this return box. We have looked at various alternate locations but each presents additional problems like lost parking spaces or danger to staff as they empty the drop. The original placement was in the middle of the driveway with posts around it to protect staff in the center. Some drivers were less than courteous and staff felt very insecure out there, so before I arrived in 2014 the box was moved to the sidewalk.”

Brattin states that In the meantime, those library patrons with physical challenges can call for a staff person to help with returns and also suggests that if they are in the neighborhood, the Library’s Southwest location has a drive-up bookdrop that may work better for them.

“We will continue to brainstorm alternatives,” Brattin wrote. “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.”

Send your ideas our way

: If you have an idea for a future Fix It, please send an ever-so pleasant note to Fix It at: fixit@kenoshanews.com or call Brian Passino at 656-6330 and select extension 3.


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