Sunday, 5 March 2017

Double Booking


 Sunday, 5 February 2017

 Reference: C00TN223


James Pearson
Interim Head of Libraries, Registration and Archives
Kent History and Library Centre
James Whatman Way
ME14 1LQ


On Sunday, 22 January 2017, I booked a library PC05 for 14:40 before entering the Tunbridge Wells Library at about 14:45.

I found someone already logged‑in and using this PC; the on‑screen clock showing no sign that their session was ending soon – it was green, not red. Although I was five‑minutes late for my booking, I was not late enough for the booking to have cancelled itself; something that occurs after ten minutes.

I asked a member of staff to rebook for me; explaining the situation, because of the fact that I cannot – to my knowledge – rebook a booking of mine once it has started. In accordance with logic and sound software‑engineering, he insisted that it is impossible for anyone else to use any PC I had booked and, so, was as surprised at what I was was saying as I was at saying it. Yet that was, indeed, the case – as I am sure the library’s (non‑existent) CCTV will verify.

This also happened again at about 15:05 on Thursday, 26 January – twice: PC04 & PC06 – & on Thursday, 2 February at 13:00.

I believe that there is a bug in the library software that, from the moment someone enters their Library‑Card Number & PIN, until they are actually fully logged‑in to one of the library’s PCs (up to five minutes, in my experience), someone else can book the same PC; creating a double‑booking at the beginning of the first person’s computer session.

Yours Sincerely,

Three incidents: 22-01-2017, 26-01-2017 & 02-02-2017.

Postscript: It is worth mentioning, in this context, that I received a letter from Andrew Stephens (ex‑Head of Libraries, Registration and Archives), dated 1 February 2016, stating with some certitude that it is possible for anyone to use a library PC someone else has booked. There is, therefore, clearly a conflict between what Mr Stephens believes to be true and what the front‑line library staff think. Because the staff’s beliefs make more sense, since any booking system that allows double‑bookings would be both self‑contradictory and pointless, I choose to believe them and not him. And yet there is still a peculiar and a recurring problem here with logging‑in caused double‑bookings!

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