Library users slam IT system

IT problem: Harris Library, where systems have been criticised
IT problem: Harris Library, where systems have been criticised
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County Hall chiefs have apologised to library users for IT problems with public access computers.

Visitors said Lancashire County Council’s machines were repeatedly displaying error messages, freezing and crashing.

Marc Dyson, 39, said he had made a series of complaints over 18 months regarding computers at the Harris Library in Preston and Leyland Library.

He said: “You switch your computer on, log-in, go to your start screen and even at that point you get an error message saying ‘system is recovering from an error’. Quite often that shuts you out.

“Sometimes it will put you in a queue, at number 250. 
Everyone in the library will be sat back from their screens waiting for it to count down. It can take half an hour and sometimes it will get to number one and start again.”

A former insurance worker, Mr Dyson said he was now unemployed due to health reasons, and needed to use the computers to register with Universal Jobmatch online to receive his Jobseeker’s Allowance. He said: “If you go to the Jobcentre and say ‘I couldn’t get on the computers at the library’ they will say it’s no excuse. I’ve spoken to library staff probably a dozen times and they say ‘we know about it, we keep telling our managers’.

“They said a new server being fitted would rectify the problems but nothing has changed.”

Julie Bell, Lancashire County Council’s libraries manager, said: “We know that some of our library users are experiencing problems with our public-access computers and we are sorry for the inconvenience this is causing them.

“We are working closely with our ICT colleagues to make what improvements we can in the short-term, while looking to longer-term solutions such as upgrading both software and hardware.

“However, with nearly 1,000 PCs across 74 libraries, this is clearly a significant task.”