Is "Self" in "self service" really negative?

As I was cleaning out my office file, I came across an old note, from Duncan Highsmith (the son of the founder of Highsmith Inc.,) that referred to a conversation that I had with him over drinks year ago about terms and terminology. He mentioned that the term "self checkout" for a library was a very negative statement - it implies that you are the one doing all the work. Almost like, the work which was done before by someone else, will now be done by you - "self".

I guess it stuck in my mind, as I recall our recent two hour internal meeting at the launch of our expanded product line (allCIRC) of how difficult it was to make sure that the name that we choose projects positive feeling, for both the end-users (patrons) and the library staff (administrators). The importance of "feel" vs. "function". This mentality expands to other things as well. I recall a number of visits to our booths at various library shows of folks that would dedicate more time to the color of the "wood finish" rather than to the overall value of the offering that we had.

I guess even in the library world, we still cling to the old cliches and do still judge the "book by its cover"... hopefully our new allCIRC will change that :)

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