Paynesville Public Library experiencing GRRL computer woes

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 7/14/98.

The Paynesville Public Library is finding work a little slower due to computer problems at headquarters, the Great River Regional Library in St. Cloud.

The GRRLís central computer system has been down for two weeks after one of its disk drives crashed. Since then, Hewlett Packard replaced the damaged disk drive but was unable to restore the system from backup tapes.

John Pepper with the GRRL said the normal procedure after the hard drive crashes is to reload the data from the backup system. However, they found that their backup tapes were not good. At some point they were misaligned. A retrieval service attempted to retrieve the needed data. They were able to bring the data up on the computer screen to read, but were not able to reload it unto another computer system.

ďWe were fortunate the OCLC had a complete file of our inventory on file,Ē Pepper said. ďWe were able to reload the data which tells us what books we own.Ē

Pepper added, among the problems is that we no longer can connect with the other libraries within the GRRL system. ďIf a customer asked us how many books we had by a certain author, we would not be able to tell them,Ē he said. ďWe sent our January backup tapes to another company to see if they can retrieve the needed data.Ē

The GRRL system has over 700,000 items on file spread throughout 30 different branch libraries, including Paynesville.

Pepper said they are still considering their options but if their worst fears are confirmed and they canít retrieve the data, they are working on a contingency plan. ďMost small libraries keep all their transactions on small personal computers. The branch libraries canít use the interconnecting system because of the crash,Ē he added.

Gretchen Vork, Paynesville librarian, said checking books in is a little slower. In addition, they canít provide customers with receipts telling them their due dates because of the computer problems with GRRL.

ďIf a customer asks about a book, we canít answer their questions because of the GRRL computer crashing,Ē Vork said.

To make checking books in less complicated, the staff in Paynesville is only doing it once a week. In pointing at two carts full of books, Vork said it would only take them a day to put everything back on the shelves.

ďMost patrons donít realize anything is wrong until they get to the desk,Ē Vork added. ďPatrons also have to do more things themselves as the computers arenít up, such as looking up codes in the computer files.Ē

Vork said the Paynesville Public Library can still do almost everything they could before, just a little slower.

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