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

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Standing in the corner, nothing else to do

One of the things that constantly irritates me about the library service is the systemic assumption that if anything's away from the public interface it must be
  1. Dead easy to pick up

  2. Not really all that important
Today's illustration is in the Acquisitions team: there's a bit of spare capacity upstairs so they've sent a couple of people down again to "lend them a hand." Which is great in principle and almost certainly well-meant. Unfortunately, aside from printing out spine labels there's nothing that that team does that can be picked up and done without at least a few days' training. This could/should be possible if someone was assigned to lend a hand on a regular basis over a period of time (I'm saying could/should because knowing this organisation's attitude to staff training and development it isn't a given). Unfortunately, staff are sent down unannounced on an ad-hoc basis for an hour or two, which just adds to the stress overload of the team as they struggle to catch up with their work, cover long-standing vacancies, answer everybody else's 'phones and also try and find things for the lending staff to do.

You couldn't mismanage it better: lending resources are wasted; willing and capable staff are made to feel useless; an over-stretched team is put under more pressure; and an unnecessary tension is built up between the two teams.

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