Power Surge Woes

June 22, 2009 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

In today’s world, we go about our jobs taking for granted the technology tools that allow us to perform our duties and make life easier for both us and our patrons.  Then “mother nature” – or in this case, downed power lines due to an accident – remind us of what life used to be like before computers.  Our power started surging about 11:30am this past Friday.  The lights in the building were flashing like neon signs on marquees, and we could hear the blowers on the AC and fans turning on and off constantly.  The computers went down, rebooted automatically, and then went back down again in endless cycles.  We finally got stuff unplugged, servers taken down, and even the staff lounge fridge and microwave taken off the grid.  By 1pm we kicked the remaining patrons out and closed the library to the public.  As staff, we had to stay either until closing or until it got too dark or too hot to work.  So what did we do – – well, I got a lot of professional journals read.  I shelved every DVD in the public area.  Other staff members straightened up the youth area and cut out stickers for Summer Reading.  Our student pages shifted books and shelf-read.  In short, we did a lot that we rarely get a chance to do when our computers are up and running.  We had no telephones to distract us and no instant chat or email to answer.  We were planning to leave by 3pm if power didn’t come back on.  At 2:53pm we came back up – what awful luck!!  We spent the next hour plugging stuff back in, bringing up servers and computers, and assessing the damage done by the brown-outs.  We lost several scaners and barcode readers but no servers.  We were very lucky!  But this day served as a reminder of how we used to work before the advent of the Internet.  Not a bad thing, in retrospect.


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Well Rounded Librarian by Kathy Petlewski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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