A Love/Hate Relationship with Computers
Most businesses and organizations today could not function properly without computers. This includes the Library. Our Technology Coordinator’s sole purpose is to install, fix, reload, upgrade and problem solve our technology issues. I am responsible for the Library’s website, and I spend a significant amount of time updating content throughout each month.
The past few weeks have been especially challenging for Library patrons and staff when it comes to technology. The system that controls our public computers suddenly stopped working properly. Then, we tried to increase the speed on our website and something went wrong. The site did not work for several days. It is working again, but it is very slow. While we are still working on both problems, there is no quick fix.
I personally have a rocky relationship with computers. When I was in high school, the invention of the personal computer was a few years away. The first time I used a computer was in college to type a term paper. I had never touched a computer before and did not have time to learn. Like a typical college student, I waited until the last minute to finish the paper. Using my research from handwritten note cards, I started typing. Normally, I would have written the entire paper out by hand and then typed it, but I was on a deadline.
I had major problems figuring out how to set the margins, indentations and worst of all, the footnotes. I also struggled with underline, bold, italics and backspace. It took me nearly 5 hours to type a 10 page, double-spaced paper plus bibliography. When I tried to print it at 3 a.m., an evil computer gremlin erased the whole thing. I have never been so angry at an inanimate object. I had not saved it; I had to start the whole thing over. This time, I saved it after every few sentences. I finished at 7:30 a.m. My class was at 8 a.m.
Another evil computer gremlin struck when I worked at a local hospital. I was compiling a database for a printed physician directory. The database contained the schools that each doctor attended, degrees, internships, residencies and specialties. I also tracked which were missing photos for the printed directory. I spent two months gathering information. I had saved several versions as I went along instead of saving just the latest update. When I was done, I decided to clean up the older, incomplete files. The minute I hit delete, I knew I had accidently erased the most up-to-date version. The only one that I had not deleted was the one I started with two months before, with only a few doctors in it.
I know that it would be extremely difficult to do my job without a computer, and for the Library to serve the community as efficiently as it does. I just wish that we could get rid of our computer gremlins by hitting the delete key.