Book Wasn’t In the Catalog But It Was On the Shelf. What Happened?

I was searching for a book from home using the Libraries’ online catalog system – I connected to it through the Libraries website. According the information I got from my search of the catalog, the book I wanted was not available – there was no record for it. But the next day I was at the library looking for another book and low and behold, the book I was searching for – the one the catalog didn’t list at all – was the first book that I saw sitting on the shelf. How is it possible that the book wasn’t in the catalog yet was there on the shelf. Something’s wrong. Can you explain this?
The next issue, with the same book, is the call number. I believe the number is incorrect. It is numbered as a book for Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs when it is actually the information gathering portion of designing a building also called programming. I think you should correct the call number.

We are grateful that you brought your problems with this book to us, and doubly grateful because finding it required some extra work on your part.  The book did not, as you say, display in Diamond (our online catalog), because at some point in the process of being checked in, or checked out,  or moved from one location to another, or even because it went missing for a while, the record for the book was removed from public view.  We are pleased to have been able to restore the information about the book to you and others who might need it.

As for the shelf number of the book: here at Temple we use Library of Congress classification, which divides subjects and genres more or less arbitrarily into an A-Z range.  The NA range is for architecture and contains a large number of topical and geographic subdivisions.  Which subdivision a book is placed in is based largely on a correspondence with the Library of Congress Subject Heading that is chosen by the cataloger.  In this case the cataloger was actually at the Library of Congress, and chose the topic—and sub-topic  “Architectural design–Data processing,” apparently on the basis of the title word “programming.”  As you mention, this involves a misunderstanding of what “programming” means to architects and other design professionals, and so the book wound up in the wrong classification. It’s worthwhile to help people looking for books on your topic by reclassifying the book.

That said, cataloging is a highly cooperative enterprise involving the work of professionals all over the U.S. The Library of Congress itself is considered the “gold standard” for cataloging.  For this reason, Library of Congress cataloging is merely given a low-level quality control check here at Temple, along with a  little physical processing.  We kept the original classification, as did the other 250 or so libraries that I can find that have the book.  In our field there is something of an understanding that all libraries that hold a book keep the original classification unless there’s some very good reason to make a change.  So when you’re through with the book, we’re going to take another look at it, just to be on the safe side.  In the end we will most likely follow your advice.


Make it Easier to Find My Subject Specialist

It’s great to know we have librarians who serve as subject specialists for the different disciplines. Many students and faculty could take advantage of their research expertise. However, it is not easy to find out who these librarians are. Can you make a link to the subject specialists more prominent on your website – even putting it on the home page?

Glad to hear you plan to take advantage of our subject specialists. They are a great resource for the Temple Community. Right now the fastest way to get to the list is to click on the ASK-A-LIBRARIAN link on the home page. It’s on the next page. You can also bookmark the subject specialist page:

Thanks for your suggestion. We will give it some thought and see we might do a better job of publicizing the specialists. You may know we do highlight the specialists on the home page by rotating their photos. If you have other ideas, share it in a comment.

How About A Sign That Lets Me Know How To Get Help Finding A Book

Why aren’t there any signs upstairs letting people know they can go to that office on the second floor if they are having trouble finding a book? I went all the way down to the reference desk, who then sent me to the circulation desk. The circulation desk let me know that there was a stacks office so if I ever have trouble locating something there are people up there who can actually help me look for it. I went to the stacks office and was able to get help finding the book I needed. It would have been nice to know this while I was still upstairs instead of having to run all over the place.

We’re sorry to hear you got the old library run-around, being sent from one desk to another until you finally find the person who can help you. Believe me, that frustrates us as well because we know when it happens you are having a lousy library experience – and our goal is to make sure you have a great library experience. So yes, we failed. The librarian at the reference desk could have told you about the stacks office – and even called the stacks office to see if there was someone there to help you. Sending you to the circulation desk just added another layer to your quest for the book.

The reason we don’t have signs promoting the stacks office is because…well, where would we put that sign? In the stacks? Where? How many would we need? You could well imagine we’d need to have signs all over the stacks if it read “Can’t find the book you came here for? Go to the stacks office on the second floor?” And when it comes to signs, most people don’t read them. So what do we do to try to give you the help you need. Two things. First, we have service phones on the east and west sides of the upper levels. They are located in the vicinity of the stairwell doors. The phones offer a direct call to the reference or circulation desk. That way you can ask your question without having to run all the way to the actual desk. The location of the service phones is also noted on the floor maps we have in every stairwell in the Paley Library. Second, we have student workers in the stacks shelving books and they can help you too. You can spot them easily because they were bright red vests that say “library staff”. So next time you can’t find a book – take a look around for one of our student workers.

We hope this information will save you time the next time you can’t find that book.

Paley Library Needs Much Better Wi-Fi Service

The wi-fi service at the library is very bad.  There are only certain areas within the library where I can get connected to the internet.  I really want to start using the library to start studying now, especially because the tech center is full always packed with people, who never really study and just socialize.  But it’s difficult to do so because of the difficulty in connected to wi-fi.  If it helps, I have  mac book pro, running on Mac OSX. Thanks for reading!

Thank you for writing to share your concerns about the wi-fi connectivity in Paley Library. We are aware that it can be a challenge to get a good connection, consistently, throughout Paley. Please keep in mind that when this building was constructed in 1963 no one could have imagined we’d need wireless connectivity. The very nature of this building, with all the concrete, pillars, bookstacks, etc. make it very difficult to get good wi-fi coverage throughout the facility. We’ve had several wireless audits by Temple’s telecommunications department and it would be extremely expensive to outfit the building with the necessary equipment to improve the wi-fi everywhere.

That said, we plan to continue to work with Computer Services and Network Services to look for ways to improve the wi-fi in Paley. We see many students with laptops who are already on the wireless network, and we know this is extremely important to our student and faculty community. For now you have the right idea. Find a location in the library that you know has stable wireless, and make that your study space. You might try the Media Services area on the lower level of Paley if you’ve not studied there before. Thanks again for submitting this suggestion.

How About Adding A Decibel Meter at Paley Library

I’d like to see a decibel meter installed on the first floor of Paley. When it goes above a certain level (Craig LaBan, Inquirer Restaurant Critic in his reviews lists “Ideal is 75 decibels or less”) staff should take action calming groups down. 

There’s no question that it can get loud on the first floor of Paley Library – but that’s mostly true only of the west side where all the computers are located. Just as with any area where you have computers, students will gather to socialize and then it can get loud. We have looked into getting one of the meters you suggest. They actually have one in the TECH Center. Given the expense of this device we felt that it would not be the best use of our funding allocation.

If you believe it is too loud in this area here are some suggestions:

  1. Find a quieter area of the library. We have designated quiet zones throughout the Paley Library. For example, the west side of the second floor. It is also quite quiet in the Media Services area on the lower level.
  2. If you need to work in the computer area on the first floor and a group of students is really loud, go to the service desk and report it to someone at the desk. Our service desk staff will ask students to tone it down, but we can’t expect this area to be always be 75 decibels or less.
  3. Did you try to check out the flex study area on the first floor in the computer area. We have some sound-dampening walls that you can fold out to make an on-the-fly study space. There are some work tables there. You may find this is a slightly quieter space to do your work.

We hope these tips are helpful to you. Thanks for sharing this suggestion.


Please Silence All Computers

Can you disable the volumes on the computers, so that it can only be audible through headphones. Don’t disable it entirely, but please make sure the computers can’t play any sound loudly without the use of headphones. 

Thanks for sharing what many of us consider an annoyance when we are trying to study with some quiet. It is our policy that headphones should always be used when listening to media of any type on our library computers. We even loan headphones to those who don’t have a pair (go to our Media Services Department).

According to the Library Systems Office, if a computer is ordered without an internal speaker, the computer will not be capable of producing any sound. We will investigate to determine if it is possible to customize the sound card to allow for sound through the headphone jack while disabling the speaker. It may be possible but we will have to experiment.

In the meantime, if a patron is making noise that is disturbing your study, if you do not feel comfortable asking the person to use headphones or stop the noise, go to a service desk and ask a member of the library staff to speak to the person making the noise. You other option is to study in one of our multiple quiet zones. If you need a computer, you can borrow a laptop from our circulation desk and take it to any quiet zone.

Thank you for sharing your suggestion with us.

Does Paley Library Actually Get Cleaned?

How often does housekeeping clean the guest computer area? The desktops are dirty and people don’t throw their trash away when they leave.

 Although this question is more specific to the “guest computer area” in Tuttleman opposite the Paley Circulation/Reserve Desk, it is worthwhile to share some general information about the frequency of housekeeping services for Paley Library. Although at peak times of operation it may seem like Paley isn’t being cleaned regularly, the answer to the question is YES. Paley Library, like most Temple buildings, has a regular, daily cleaning schedule. A crew is assigned to clean up the Library every evening, even on the weekends. This is true of Tuttleman as well.

During the day hours, especially on the weekends, the degree of housekeeping service is much more limited. For one thing, it would be extremely difficult to clean the furniture surfaces, floors, empty trash, etc. when the library can be quite packed with people using the resources. There are skeleton crews that work their way through different buildings to tackle any challenging mess. So depending on what time you arrive at the library, the degree of traffic in the building that day, and yes – whether the people who use the library make an effort to remove their trash – can impact on the state of cleanliness you will discover.

Unfortunately, while we wish every person using our Libraries would remember to dispose of their trash in the right place, you are likely to encounter a mess left by someone else from timt to time. Given the amount of mess created in Paley every day, we really appreciate the great job our housekeeing staff does to keep things clean here.

Let’s Keep Paley Library Open 24/7

I would like to say that I have had great experiences at the library. There is one thing that I would like to suggest though. Currently I am at the TECH center studying because the library is now closed. The noise level here does not allow me to study and focus very well. I would like to suggest to the library and university personnel that the library stay open either later or also 24 hours as it would be a great be a great benefit to those students that focus best in a quiet atmosphere. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your response and what can be done in this matter.

We are pleased to know that you would describe your experience with Paley Library as “great”. Thanks for sharing that with us. We take the experience you and all the other members of the Temple community have at our libraries seriously, and we are always open to ideas for improvoing that experience. Requests for additional hours is a suggestion we do get from our user community from time to time. If the library offers a great experience, why not make that experience available for even more hours.

The library administration has discussed whether keeping the Paley Library open 24 hours every day or even five days is feasible. Adding more hours is primarily a budgetary matter. Not only would we need to keep Paley open, but Tuttleman as well, since that is the location of the circulation desk. Currently the Paley Library (including the Tuttleman service desk) is open 118 hours a week (Note: Our official opening hour M-F is 8 am, but we unofficially open the doors to students at 7 am). You can imagine the added cost of keeping the buildings open plus the added staff needed for the additional hours (50 of them).

Still, we understand the value of being open to students around the clock. If the University was to move ahead with plans to build a new library facility it is likely you would find a 24/7 or 24/5 section of the building. This allows for a smaller space for those students who are seeking a quiet study area at all hours of the night. We recently received a report compiled by another research library that collected data about the number of large research libraries that are open 24/7 (the Association of Research Libraries includes 113 of the largest research libraries in North America). Of the 66 libraries that responded only 6 reported being open 24/7. Another 17 reported being open 24/5 (same as the TECH Center). Another 24 reported being open 24/7 or 24/5 – but these libraries did have a separate facility or section of the main library dedicated to 24/7 or 24/5 hours.Another 13 libraries, like Paley, were open 24/7 only during finals. Yes, for an approximate 12-day period during reading week and finals Paley Library will remain open 24/7.

We will continue to monitor the usage of Paley Library to see what the late night hours traffic is like (currently – quite light).  We will also consider the number of students requesting additional hours (currently – rare). We do appreciate your suggestion and use of Paley Library. Thank you.

Quiet – Please, Please, Please

Please please please start enforcing the quiet zone rules! I’ve started off in the tech center, which became to loud, so I moved to the library which was okay for awhile. But now people just come to the quiet zone because it’s quiet enough for them to talk or do group work.  Please hang up more signs on the table and walks  or even get someone to walk around to maintain silence. Thank you

 Thank you for sharing your concerns about the noise you are hearing in our library quiet zones. It is unfortunate that students are talking and doing group work in these spaces. While the library staff are not about to become a team of roving quiet police, there are a few things to share that might be helpful when this happens.

When you are in a quiet zone, there should be “quiet zone” stencils in the area. We put them up not only to indicate where the zones are – but also to help students who are seeking quiet. If you are in the quiet zone and other students are not respecting the quiet, simply get their attention and point to the “quiet zone” stencil. Remind them where they are in the library, and you might also mention that the 2nd floor east is the noise tolerant space for groups or those who like to talk in the library. If other students are ignoring these very large “quiet zone” signs and the signs on the stairwell doors, more signs are not going to solve the problem.

According to experiences here and at other similar libraries, student self-policing of noise and other annoying behaviors is far more effective than asking library staff to enforce rules. If you feel uncomfortable asking others to be quiet, then by all means seek out a staff member who will do this for you. All staff will be reminded that they should assist students who need help with a noise situation. I hope this will help to improve the problem.