Monthly Archives: April 2017

Accountability:
Suggestion Box versus Circular Bin

Published / by aladdin / Leave a Comment

I have told the library staff that I understand their “suggestion box” to be no more than a “circular bin”, i.e. trash can. Why? Because it seems clear that either nobody reads the feedback, or nobody does anything about the feedback items. I have filed the same suggestion repeatedly and there is no indication that I am being heard, no feedback ever.

How to fix this issue (and all other issues)?

A. Every suggestion or complaint gets a serial number.
B. Every suggestion or complaint filed is posted online for the public to see.
C. The library addresses every single item with a response posted, again, online.

=> If the item is a suggestion then the library must say
* yea (and estimated when)
* nay (and why not)
* added to our wishlist (estimated when)
* added as an item of note in our next major review (with note number)

=> if the item is a complaint then the library must say
* we agree that there is an issue here, or we do not agree that there is an issue here (and why not, in detail, and this response authored by whom.)
* if the library agrees, then it posts either
(A) will be solved by [estimated date]
(B) requires X resources or X approval in order to be resolved, and once X is provided, the [estimated additional time to completion]
Note that this requires that the library initiate the process to obtain X resources or X approval at this time.
* if the library does not agree, then the library will make clear what next steps the plaintiff can take to get the issue re-addressed or the decision overturned.

Not all members of the public can get everything they want, and different problems have different priorities and different costs to be resolved. For various issues, it will be the Library Director who will issue the final “we will not address this complaint” notice to which there is no appeal (within the library system per se.)

Whoever rejects a complaint must explain why, and must justify the reasons given; if not justified at the time of refusal, then the public has the right to demand debate with the author of the refusal, and that includes even a final refusal by the Library Director. If the reasons given for the refusal are in fact adequate, then the public is obliged to acknowledge this; but has no obligation to respect a mere “because I said so” note issued by an official who cannot or will not debate the correctness of their decision.

As action items are resolved they are updated online to show so.
=> Items missing estimated deadlines have to be explained.
=> Items that are not being resolved must be justified as to why they’re not being resolved.
=> The inability to resolve issues highlights problems in system administration that must be escalated, and any systemic cause must be eliminated.

So for example:

Ticket 20161215-00: patron notes that main elevator floor readout (so passengers know what floor they are on) is not working.

As things stand, actually this is 5 tickets by patron #1 and at least one ticket by patron #2. None of these tickets has been acknowledged as received, nor is there any evidence that the library has scheduled a repair, and the problem remains outstanding (since at least mid-December 2016!) {N.B.: the elevator issue was finally resolved some time in June 2017, half a year after it was first reported, and it appears that nobody who filed the observation was ever contacted to indicate that the issue had been resolved.}

Who left it outstanding (who is ignoring the problem) cannot be determined and nobody has to answer for the fact that the problem is not getting fixed.