We're taking a bit of a breather while the world rearranges its underpants. Meanwhile, the other blog is here.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


We've been trying to move the library out of Pottersbury Road Primary School for a couple of years without success. There are a few reasons for wanting to leave:
  • The issue figures in the school holidays are crap and certainly not worth the cost of staffing the place;
  • Monthly adult issue is in double figures; and
  • As a landlord the school's on a par with Peter Rackman.
The relationship between the school and the library has always been difficult. Although the library is a paying tenant, the school treats it very much as part of its domain. We had official complaints about the colour of the kinder boxes; severe objections to paperback spinners ("these are very inconvenient when we want to use the room for classroom activities"); and they were very anti our having computers for public use on the people's network ("We are very concerned that people will come in to use these computers." T. Aldous, to his credit, replied: "we would be very concerned if they didn't.")

The decider for T. Aldous was his turning up to visit the library one day for a meeting and finding the builders in knocking down the walls of the staff room to expand the SureStart office. When he asked what the hell was going on Trudi Barleymow, the head teacher, told him that he had to move the network hub for the people's network some time that week so that the rest of the staff room could be converted for SureStart. Considerable force was added to the argument when the school doubled the rent to cover a budget shortfall caused by the building work.

So we went through the inevitable consultation exercise. Ms. Barleymow got herself in the local rag "battling for our school library" (nobody pointed out that it was supposed to be a public library). In the end, and true to form, the councillors decided not to make a decision and so the status quo prevailed, except for another small rise in the rent to allow for inflation.

The branch librarian's on leave this week so we've been covering Pottersbury Road with assistants from Helminthdale. They turned up this morning and found themselves locked out. The school had changed the locks and neither told us nor supplied keys. Mass panic as, of course, nobody's around on a Saturday who may have keys. Eventually, the caretaker was discovered in the local supermarket and the library opened an hour late.

I was all for not bothering and, instead, ringing the local rag to get a photographer in to get a picture of staff and customers subjected to a Victorian lock-out by a cruel landlord. "School shuts out the library it fought for" "We can't understand it; we always pay the rent in advance, even when it's been doubled without prior notice." Ah well, it was a nice dream.

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