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

Thursday, January 31, 2008


For the first time in human memory the fire exit corridor is empty. There is absolutely nothing there: the Acq. Team shifted through all the incoming boxes of new stock (helped by all the incoming boxes of new stock being three boxes of picture books and a business directory); T.Aldous gave Seth permission to get rid of the stack of old (very) bentwood chairs and the bookmarks have been distributed to the four winds.

There is a bleak, majestic beauty to the corridor but we are not used to it and cling to the walls for security as we walk along it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I was late leaving the sausage factory so left by the stage door which is the fire exit. Which is how I came to have the shock of my life as I bumped into what appeared to be a relict prop from a particularly cheap and nasty 1960s horror movie.

I actually don't know what this thing is, and I'm not sure that I shouldn't be grateful for that. I'll try to describe it. It was about six foot tall and apparently covered in a rather nasty, mottled, flesh-coloured cheap plush velvet. But for a revolting flourish of morbid growths about the crown the whole thing could have been an object of phallocentric worship left out in the rain on the doorstep of a charity shop for twenty years or more. Utterly, utterly revolting.

I pray to God it's being chucked out and not chucked in.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pet's corner

Staff room's on form today. This is peculiar on so many levels I may have to enter it for the egg and spoon race. Any further comment from me would be entirely superfluous.

"...and her friend's upset because she had to have her snake put down."

"What for?"

"Well, it was one of those boa constrictor type things and it just wasn't eating. She tried feeding it with its usual favourites but it didn't want to know. Couldn't be tempted. It just would'nt eat.

"Well this went on for a month or so and she was getting worried about it. The peculiar thing is that one night she woke up and found that the snake had got out of its tank and was just sitting at the bottom of the bed staring at her. She got up and put it back in the tank and thought no more about it.

"Well, a couple of weeks later she decided that the snake's not eating must mean it was ill or something so she took it to the vet. And he said: 'I'm sorry but I'll have to put your snake to sleep. It's deliberately starving itself so that it can eat you.'"

"Good grief, I've never heard of that before!"

"That's what he said, apparently. What gets me is how he could be so sure of it. Even if he were an expert on snake psychology he must have some evidence to go off. Perhaps there's loads of cases of pet snakes eating women in Pardendale but it just doesn't get in the papers."

As they say on Crimewatch: "don't go having nightmares."


We were talking about the unfrocked Vicar of Stiffkey who died when he was mauled by a lion (he'd been unfrocked for being "the prostitues' parson") but I was damned if I could remember his name.

Stap me, I picked up a copy of 'The Chap' from the newsagents and there's an article about the chappie, with pictures.

Life is good.

Monday, January 28, 2008

As described on The Third Programme

Norbert Spudulike rings from Dutch Bend.

"Here's a funny thing: I've just issued a CD called 'An Evening With The Brighouse & Rastrick Band' to a customer but it shows on the system as 'Swan Lake.' I've just looked up the barcode on the system and it's 'Swan Lake' on the catalogue. The CD cover's got a brass band on it. There's not a brass band in 'Swan Lake' is there?

One word, repeated, as per Alice In Wonderland, springs to mind..."

I check it up. On our system, if the item barcode's not recognised it asks you if you want to create a temporary catalogue record with just enough information in it to let it get issued to the borrower who presented it.

So somebody scanned the barcode on a copy of "An Evening With The Brighouse & Rastrick Band," was prompted to create a temp. cat. of the item in their hand and they gave it the title "Swan Lake."

The word Mescalin springs to mind...

Friday, January 25, 2008

The auditorium is completely full of Orson Wells

T.Aldous has told Seth that the boxes of booksale books in the meeting room need to be redistributed to no more than three boxes' height for health and safety reasons.

"Is that three little boxes or three big boxes?"

"It doesn't matter. Three boxes high."

"What about all those boxes that are stacked six-high in the fire exit?"

"Just get on with the meeting room."


Sometimes the obvious needs pointing out.

"You need to get rid of all those web links on the Library Catalogue. It isn't a search engine you know."

"Actually, that's precisely what a library catalogue is."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

We band of brothers

Things are fraught at Roadkill. We had expected the boys to deliver and install the new PCs yesterday, as per a sequence of emails Milton's received from the IT Section's project management team.

"Thank God you've arrived!" said Milton, "I was expecting you yesterday."

"The project was only started yesterday. First we knew about it was just after lunchtime. Luckily we had a few PCs in the store room that we could bring over. We've not got enough to do the public desks and the counter, though. We should be able to get some more tomorrow."


Part of today's incoming is a printed web page. Yet another of those local leisure & listing sites, this page being a listing for Tench Road Library.

Attached post-it note:

The address on this page is wrong. Can something be done about it?

Attached note:

Can something be done?

I went to the web site at the URL supplied.

I clicked on the button marked "Details wrong? Let us know."

I let them know.

Saga holiday

Roadkill Library's closed while we shift it over to its new home and we got to wondering about opening ceremonies. All the famous celebrities [that's not a redundancy in today's world -- I've never heard of any of the celebrities on any of the celebrity reality shows on telly this week] that come from round here couldn't wait to bugger off out of it first chance they got.

"What did we do at Glass Road?"

"We got the daughter of the first borrower at the old Glass Road Library. She's about 108 now. She lives in Garstang so we had to fly her in to Burnley International Airport then stand for a taxi over here."

"That'll be why I didn't see anything about it in the paper."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Frankly my dear....

Raccoonville's been closed for a couple of weeks while a new bog's installed and is likely to be closed for another couple. Today I get a call from Wilma, the branch manager there.

"What's happening with Raccoonville's reservations?"

In her shoes I'd have asked before I shut up shop. I don't have the first idea myself and have stopped caring about it

Woefully misguided

Freddie Jumbuck, the chap what runs the council switchboard, is a lovely old bloke, as camp as Christmas and "known by the appropriate authorities" for his recreational use of public conveniences. I only mention this because it was he who took this call this morning:

"Are you the council's Morality Officer?"

"No dearie. We haven't got a Morality Officer. Could I help at all?"

"I want to complain about that poster on Cattermole Street with the woman almost falling out of the front of her frock."

"Ooh, yes. I know what you mean, dear. I'll pass on your complaint to the proper authorities."

My constellated hate bears the black sun of melancholy

I've found out why a search on the council's web site for "Senebene Library" gives me a Best Value report on schools on the Senebene Estate; planning applications in Senebene; Traffic Act Orders in Library Crescent and, finally, the page about Senebene Library. Despite my embedding all the appropriate keywords into the page.

The search engine just looks at the first thousand words, counts the frequency of each and reports accordingly.

That's right, in this day and age we're using a context-free word counter as a search engine.

I query this with the Web Team.

"You need to think about the information you put on your web pages."

I see.

Senebene Library is a library on the Senebene Estate.
Senebene Library is open from 10.00 to 20.00 on Monday.
Senebene Library is open from 10.00 to 17.30 on Tuesday.
Senebene Library is open from 10.00 to 13.00 on Wednesday.
Senebene Library is open from 10.00 to 18.00 on Thursday.
Senebene Library is open from 10.00 to 17.30 on Friday.
Senebene Library is open from 09.30 to 16.00 on Saturday.
See Janet.
See John.
See Janet see John.
See John see Janet.
Janet sees John.
John sees Janet.
See Barry the dog.
See Janet see Barry the dog.
See John see Barry the dog.
'Woof!' says Barry the dog.

I think I'm having one of me turns.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hold their manhoods

A conversation upon the breaking up of a meeting with colleagues from another library authority:

"Ooh that woman does irritate me!"

"I know what you mean. If only she wasn't so bloody pious."

"Don't let that kid you: it's not so long ago that she and Janey Spindly used to go down to Obchester Docks to pick up Russian sailors."

It ain't gonna rain no mo'

Pansy rings up about a problem with the People's Network and follows through with:

"You buggers all went home early last night, didn't you?"

"Did we?"

"Yes, you all went home when Helminthdale Library shut at 5 o'clock." [Monday's our late night, when all our libraries are open until 8pm]

"Did we? I wasn't here then. Did anybody tell the other libraries?"

"No. The only reason I knew was because Mary rang me about something else and said in passing that the library was closed and they'd all gone home."

I can't begin to comment on this.

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here

Policy Team have decamped, unannounced, to an off-site meeting. Apparently, they're meeting the healthy reading co-ordinator over in Crippen Terrace Social Centre. We'd been rather hoping they were being sectioned en bloc. Ah well.

Mary was to have been their guide but she was nowhere to be seen at the appointed time. She'd earlier rung the Acq. Team to ask when the recycling bins had to be put out and then announced that she was going for a shower (I assume this wasn't a works call).

PT, having milled about the foyer like more-than-usually-disorganised sheep for quarter of an hour, decided to make their way over despite the fact that none of them were sure of the way so that they'd only be slightly-ish late.

A couple of minutes later Mary turned up.

"You've only just missed them, they've started making their way over."

"I thought they might."

Rather than following on, catching them up and guiding them to their destination she went into her office.

Made a couple of 'phone calls.

Came out to try and tell Noreen that this week's licorice wasn't as nice as last week's and we should keep the wrapping paper for it. (Presumably so that we can mount it on a spike to warn off potential offenders.)

Fussed about the photocopier.

And finally put her coat back on to go to the meeting.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The gene pool needs a little chlorine

I went home straight from a meeting rather than returning to the sausage factory so I decided to get the bus home. I got the bus that goes down Cattermole Street and round the houses a bit (evenings aren't light enough for the Dutch Bend bus). It's a longer ride but there's not the same lunatic element to the patronage.


"How much is it for the dog? I don't usually bring the dog on a bus but I've got to take it to the vet's. It's got chronic diarrhoea."

But I never drink the water
In case it gives me the shits

The Town Hall's been evacuated because it's raining.

OK, it's pissing down but why is the council going home? Our first thoughts were worries about flood. It would have to be an apocalyptic downpour that would transform the drunkard's trickle that is the River Helminth into a raging torrent that would threaten all ten stories of the Town Hall. So we got scurrying round to see if there was any gopherwood on the premises.

It turned out not to be necessary. They were all sent home because of the traffic problems caused by localised flooding of Bencup Old Road and the Scatter Bypass.


Two roads taken out by rain for an afternoon: everybody in the Town Hall go home.

Whole town in gridlock for nine months because all eight hub points connecting the main roads with the inner ring road are being dug up to convert the roundabouts into traffic light-controlled junctions and the traffic light-controlled junctions into roundabouts: business as usual.

We few, we happy few

Alas! One of our frequent friendly correspondents, The Topiary Cow, has fallen victim to network guys infected with the English local authority attitude to the Internet in general and Blogger in particular.

They can pick us off one by one but we can still make little fists in our pockets.

Harness the power of the electric corset

I'm having a bit of a fulminate about the council's lack of progress, or corporate blocking-of-progress, with our web services. My butty bar companion smiles grimly.

"Executive Directorate Group cut the funding because: 'the internet isn't business-critical'."

Half leather binding and bold lower case

Interesting event to come at Grimley Library. This library's not received any new books for a while, but we have a thousand stacked up and we will be inviting customers to come along and unpack them for us. What fun.

(No matter that they have already been unpacked, received and invoiced, updated on the catalogue, discharged and made available on the system and then repacked ready to be unpacked!)

Our Health and Safety bloke is having fits over this, even to the extent he wants us to do a risk assessment to the reputation of the Council! Obviously even he realises this is a little odd.

Friday, January 18, 2008

For days and days among the trees

About this time last year the Books For Sharing Collection was bought for Helminthdale Library and put through the receipt and invoicing process by the Acquisitions Team as an urgent. For the next ten months it sat around in boxes, generally getting in the way of the Acq. Team. Imagine their relief when it finally got taken upstairs to the lending library...

For the past two months this collection has sat in the lending library's lift lobby, generally hidden by an assortment of silk pot plants that turned up for no apparent reason before Christmas.

Job well done, I say.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


The new MLA guidance on controversial materials in the public library stock has been issued and circulated.

We don't survive past point two: "Every library authority should have a stock selection policy."

A short, sharp visit from the Slap Fairy

Youth Information Services have just announced they have renamed themselves "Encounter!" I never really knew what they did before, but at least the title gave me a clue, now it is just a cunning plot to make sure no one has a clue what they do, so they can pretty much please themselves.

As they always have done.

They keep pushing work our way "as we have no staff to do it" yet have this week banished one of their number to work on a rota basis around the branch libraries as they can't stand her in the office. I must admit she is not my favourite person, but then there is a rogue's gallery of them in there. Thing is no one told the branches they were getting this individual a day a week, so they are now all upset.

Not that it would have made any difference had they been told beforehand anyway.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

If any of you care to stand on your heads to listen it would be appreciated

Talk of reorganisations prompts correspondence from Monty O'Burr, a colleague in another place.

You will be pleased to learn our restructure, too, is still incomplete. It is now celebrating its four and a halfth birthday. You can imagine what this is doing to staff morale, particularly as some of the jobs got severely ring fenced and those already doing them find themselves outside the fence.

I am still trying to work out why, but lots of things are outside my comprehension.

Human resource management at play.

The world is such a cheerful place when viewed from upside down

There are times lately when Milton's driven me barmy, making me wonder why he's doing stuff that I would have thought were within my remit and not always letting me know about what he's up to in the process. Before I get too pissed off with him I need to take into account our working realities in this land of lies and treacle: like everyone else, there are times when he needs to do something because it can be done not because it can be done by him.

I'm reminded of this today because we've been doing yet another Impact Assessment exercise. Lately we've been required to do Risk Impact Assessments, Equality Impact Assessments, Target Impact Assessments, Cultural Impact Assessments, Reading Goals Impact Assessments, oh, the list rolls on. If somebody were to tell Jim that there's a Two Weeks In Scarborough With A Drag Queen Called Bubbles Impact Assessment I dare say he wouldn't bat an eyelid (I'd like to think that I might).

This time it's a Customer Service Impact Assessment (the grammarians amongst you will have noticed the lack of 'doing' words). Working through the forms with Milton it's pretty apparent why he's getting frustrated and looking for Things That Can Be Done. Although he's held responsible for our reference library services he doesn't actually have any authority over stock selection and expenditure, staffing, local studies or any of reference libraries themselves.

In the circumstances...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Everything's coming down this weekend
What time do you finish?

Day off today so I repair into town to avail myself of the January sales in Hannigan's Truss Boutique (abdomenal protectors 25% off). Lo! Bobbing up from behind the gentlemen's supports is Ken Barmy. He's taking a lunchbreak away from their routine madnesses.

"We're having a reorganisation!" he crows.

"Have you finished the last one yet?"

"Don't take the piss, it's not nice."

It must be like the bloody Cultural Revolution over in Pardendale.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A rose is a rose is a rose is a cauliflower

The current fad for renaming things has turned its attention to the Target Improvement Meetings, which have had more names than a serial fraudster. They're now called "Performance Monitoring Meetings."

"We've given up on improvement then, have we?" I ask Milton.

"Well, at least it's a more accurate description of what we do."

They looked up my postcode

On our management system if one of Catty Library's books, for example, gets returned at Dutch Bend it's given the label "returning to home location." Once it arrives back at Catty is should be discharged and it'll become "In" like the rest of the stuff on the shelves.

I've emailed all staff reminding them that all incoming stock needs to be discharged so that any rovers are returned and any reservations triggered. To emphasise the former I pointed out that there's currently over 3,200 items "returning to home location" and they can't all be on the library van ('cos that's still full of bog rolls and mop heads).

"What are you doing about all those books?" I'm asked by T.Aldous.


"What happens to stock that's 'returning to home location'?"

"With any luck they arrive home. Out of my control. Not my problem."

Cry havok!

In an unaccustomed fit of planning we're talking about perhaps doing some events and activities themed on the First World War and the Armistice.

"I know a lady who can do a corn dolly demonstration," says Mary.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's that stain you see on the underside of a labrador

The newspapers and telly are full of the brouhaha surrounding Peter Hain's failed bid to be deputy leader of the Labour Party. This puts our local idiocies into perspective: the amount of money "forgotten" about is the annual budget of any of our branch libraries -- staff, buildings maintenance and materiel -- and if any of us acted similarly we'd have had the bollocking of our lives.

The rules are different in the Westminster Village of course. Public library authorities across the country implement the People's Network (ouch! ouch! ouch!) and management systems migrations within time and within budget, something central government can only dream about. But their projects are always "successes" and we're always "inefficient and ineffectual."

Our friends across the water wouldn't know this but I would be breaking the law were I to comment further. As a local government officer I'm not allowed to publicly voice opinions that may be construed as political. This is one of Margaret Thatcher's laws which the Labour Party anathemised at the time but found convenient to hang onto once in power themselves. So I couldn't wonder whether somebody who can't manage his own private office should be running a complex department like Work & Pensions. It would be like making T.Aldous responsible for the Benefits Office.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The return of the Bog Roll Fairy

Seth takes a 'phone call from Pansy at Gypsy Lane, wanting lavatory requisites.

"I'll put some bog rolls on the van for you," he says.

"No, we can't have bog rolls."

"Why not?"

"We've got one of those new disabled toilets and we're not allowed to use bog rolls with it. We've got to use antiseptic wipes."

If we can find enough nails to pegs the sheets onto we may well find a use for the paper we can't recycle after all.

80 pages brimful of knowledge

Dances With Books points us to a nice example of a really useful staff notice. This reminds me of our last inspection.

The inspectors made a lot of noise about the proliferation of "Now then... no... no.. naughty... mustn't..." notices we have on display in our libraries. Their indignation was tempered a little once they came backstage and found that not only were there many more notices to staff than to the public, but they were also a good many degrees more patronising.


Helminthdale, like all English councils, has a government-imposed duty to increase the amount of recycling of waste.

Helminthdale Council charges itself commercial rates for bulk disposal of paper for recycling.

Helminthdale Council cannot afford to pay itself commercial rates for bulk disposal of paper for recycling.

Some paper waste is picked up at the Town Hall for recycling, at standard waste disposal rates. This service is not available to the Library Service, Planning, Social Services or Environmental Health, all of whom have offices not ten yards away from the Town Hall. The barrier being the transport costs.

Helminthdale is likely to fail its recycling targets and will probably be fined for its failure.

The fine for failing to meet recycling targets is ten times the commercial cost of its collection.

Discuss. Do not write on both sides of the paper at the same time.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

At gunpoint in the rain

When the management structure for Sheep City was being set up the new directorate decided that they didn't want the Library Service including in the empire they were slicing off the old Leisure & Culture directorate "because it is a failing business" (this coming just after the Audit Commission said that they could "see no prospect of improvement in the Library Service while departmental resources are monopolised by non-statutory services").

I notice a recent quotation from the head honcho saying: "library services naturally fall into the cultural remit of our organisation."

This can only mean that the dodgems and gee-gaws have been losing money hand over fist again.

Stagnation of the liver

We'll have to submit a project request for a new spam filter. The spam we need to filter out comes from our IT section, recently outsourced to the venture capital enterprise Humgrummit, Vector & Bunion. Today's marvel of the age is a half-hourly update, complete with half-meg logo, telling IT section staff that their email isn't working.

As their email isn't working they're the only people on the network spared the half-hourly updates telling them that this is the case.

The Bog Roll Fairy cometh

Bronwyn's back from the latest expedition to Epiphany Library. The library's closed while they put a new floor and walls in and T.Aldous wants it clearing out by the end of the week so that the building contractors can start promptly on Monday.

We had all thought that the place had been cleared out but this morning your man declared that Seth and Bronwyn had to nip over to retrieve all the kitchen and cleaning gear, with especial emphasis on spoons and Windolene. And so it was that they've spent the past couple of hours loading the library van with cardboard boxes full of old mop heads, Vim and paper towels. Then they had to jam in the vacuum cleaners, brushes and big-sticks-with-a-hook-on-the-end-for-opening-high-windows-with.

"Coming back from Epiphany we must have looked like the Clampetts," said Bronwyn.

A line has been drawn, though:

"I know he told us to bring back all the toilet rolls but I've left a couple behind," says Bronwyn. "The builders need to be able to go to the toilet. In fact, I feel a bit mean about this; if I'm still feeling guilty about it in a few weeks' time I'll pop in and leave a couple more. I'll be like the Toilet Roll Fairy."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I am Spartacus!

A colleague in another place has told me that he's had unofficial word from his bosses that he might want to stop writing this blog.

Personally, I think the fact that any library service managers have such low self-esteem that they would willingly identify themselves with the clowns populating Helminthdale is sad beyond belief.

But it also means that my colleague must have a rich seam of stories that he'd like to share with us (this is a hint, nudge, nudge).

I was going to say that there is just one Helminthdale, but given a lot of the feedback I get from people working in the public libraries of three continents this is evidently untrue. I can only conclude that Helminthdale is a universal state of grace, a sort of Platonic ideal of a particular kind of public library service.

badge: I am the ghost of Kevin MusgroveIt follows, then, that I must be something similar. In that spirit I've made the cut-out-and-keep badge on the left. I thought we could all wear it on a given day as a mark of solidarity of experience.

Ah, but which day? I had thought St. Lone Ranger's Day (26th May), which this year falls on a Monday when we'd all need cheering up. But that seems a long way away. Then the blindingly obvious struck me. If we're to be true to our organisations and our managers there can only be one solution.

We would all have worn the badge on the 25th of December but we were on leave that day.

On the breeze that follows sunset I could hear that sad refrain

Milton and I are discussing the communication arrangements we're going to have to put in place for when the call centre takes over as the first line of telephone communication with the public.

"I know you keep saying that we're not very good at communicating within the service..."

"No, I said that communication within the service is crap. Just take the New Year's Afternoon Spectacular upstairs. How many of us down here knew about it?"

"What New Year's Afternoon Spectacular?"


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gormless farting skittles


"We really should do something about filling the reader development post, what with the National Year of Reading coming up."

"Could we get one of the work-experience graduates to do the project work?"

Gah... How about filling the bloody post, you only advertised it a couple of months ago.

The bombazene she wears is bulletproof

"Was that Henry Irving in your office yesterday?" asks Bronwyn.

"Yes," I reply.

"He's had another makeover, hasn't he?"

"It's that time of year again."

"I like doing storytime in local studies. You're always guaranteed a good audience because they make a point of really selling the event beforehand."

"Yes, they're very unprofessional like that."

Pillar to post

Having a look at the proposed plans for the refurbished Catty Library. The only new feature appears to be a new disabled toilet, replacing the staff room (which moves up into the attic, with the pigeons). Why no change in layout? The council's Heritage Planning Officer has forbidden any changes.

Service delivery in Helminthdale Council is always compromised by unnacountable Town Hall noddies.

If it were down to me we'd clear out completely, extend Carbootsale Library, which is ten minutes' walk down the Penkage Road, and have that as the main library for the Catty area. The Heritage Planning Officer could then have the old Catty Library as a late Xmas present.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sitting the baby on the boiled ham

Frog's had a few children's librarians in for a meeting. A couple of them were reminiscing about the good old days:

"Remember how we weren't allowed to buy 'Topsy & Tim' when they first started being published? We couldn't buy them because they didn't have any noses in the pictures..."

"And we couldn't buy any Enid Blyton. She'd written so many books they couldn't possibly be any good..."

"I remember going to a children's library meeting once with Piggy Throgmorton. When he came out he said to me:

"All children's librarians should be made to go on the game. If it turned out that they were any good they'd be making a better living out of it. If not, then at least they'll have seen something of life."

Very unreconstituted was Piggy. Mind you, my sympathy was with him that day."

An olde English folk song

Henry Irving floats in from Sheep City. He's had another makeover and looks like the repertory edition of Raskalnikov.

"We're having a new feature display in local studies. We're going back to the seventies."


He's currently having to act as go-between with the Museum Service, something he's enjoying immensely (he has my sympathy, I got that t-shirt about a decade ago).

"I know you think that librarians are precious about being 'professional' but they're not a patch on some of the people in the Museum Service who keep telling me that they're professionals."

"Oh yes... Are they looking down on you because you've not got a Museums Diploma?"

"If I suggest anything they say I don't know anything about it and then about two months later, when it's too late to make a difference they'll pipe up with the same idea. And they're so bloody cavalier!"

"How's it going with the new software?"

"It's being installed this week and we're training on it the week after next. I want to copy the local studies digital files over to the new database but I'm not sure... Tell me, am I being paranoid? Ideally I'd want to put all the high-definition pictures on there but I'm scared of what the museum people would do with them."

"Don't they understand the concept of digital rights management?"

"What do you think?"

"I'd just let them have access to the thumbnails."

Thinking on, I think I'd degrade the thumbnails before letting the museum folk near them.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Grandson of secret gig

Frog and Salome have decided that they're going to have a children's treasure hunt upstairs in lending but they're not going to tell anybody about it. To increase the pleasure they've scheduled it for when Doreen's covering the enquiry desk.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A recently detonated circus

Raccoonville and Roadkill libraries are closing for a while at the end of the month. Raccoonville's the latest library to be getting a new toilet (they've had to shift half a ton of Dutch Bend Bystanders in preparation). Roadkill's moving to new premises next door.

I circulate an email telling staff about the closures and the arrangements we're making concerning due dates, reservations, etc. I get an emailed reply from Jim:

I didn't know about this. Then again, I am just a member of Policy Team. (-:

Secret Santa

I was telling Daisy Duck about Frog's encounter with yesterday's secret gig upstairs.

"Is that what they wanted Amelia for? I had to jiggle the rota about so that she could go over to Helminthdale to sing carols."

"You jest! Christmas carols at a new year's event?"

"Oh, this was last week."

Standing there all cold and shivery
waiting sadly for the next delivery

The Acquisitions Team are piled high with boxes of incoming stock and two hundred-line long invoices (we approach yet another financial year end with last-minute panic-buying of lending stock to meet the targets). So imagine their joy at the latest one from Dagmar at Doggedly:

"I need you to process those books quickly because my reading group needs them."

"Well, they won't be done today, we're snowed under."

"But I need them now. They're doing this title in their next meeting."

"When's that?"

"The twenty-fifth."

"I might do them early next week."

"But I like to have them at least a month before the meeting."

"Well it's not happening this week."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Mobile nightmare units

"While you were out Milton came down and took away a printer from your store room," Noreen tells me.

"Thanks. I might find out what he's doing with it some time."

"Why don't you ask him?"

"I can't be arsed any more. Apparently it's none of my business."

Son of secret gig

Frog's covering on the enquiry desk upstairs in lending. Salome comes back in laden with mince pies and orange juice "for the New Year's Afternoon Spectacular."

"What New Year's Afternoon Spectacular?"

"Oh God, not another one nobody's told anybody about! I assumed the publicity went out last week when I was off."

"Afraid not."

The afternoon was saved by Norma going out into the shopping centre and virtually dragging customers into the library.

Frog mentioned the lack of publicity to Doreen, who's the responsible adult for the library.

"Well, there were notices up in the lending library all week."

From the mouths of babes

A little child wanders out of the children's library and looks around for her mother, who's getting some books for herself. Rather than panicking or running round the library in alarm she calmly approaches one of the library assistants.

"Where do you keep the mums?"

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


A happy new year to all our readers.

It's to be hoped that 2008 will be a better year in Helminthdale but all the available evidence suggests that's a forlorn hope.

I hope you fare better.