There's a new council/health service/voluntary sector all-singing all-dancing civic centre opening on the site of the old Catty Town Hall at the end of next month. This particular one has been on the cards for a couple of years but the concept in general has been approved locally for a while longer than that and it's planned that each of the old County Boroughs will have one.
One of the services that's going to be provided is a small library - in effect an outlier of Catty Library. They'll be using a small deposit collection and they'll be issuing and returning on our library management system. Again, this has been on the cards for the past couple of years and on the rare occasions that Policy Team tell the common horde what they've been doing to earn their corn this has always featured in third place behind "meeting performance standards" and "filling vacancies."
For the past few months I've been asking how this new library is going to work so that I can set them up accordingly on the system. And so that I can work out the complementary human systems and training resources. Will we expect them to behave just like any of the branch libraries and have all the consequence processes and workloads or are we going to be more selective? How do we want other libraries to work with this one, and vice versa? Simple stuff, so long as somebody makes timely decisions.
Ha ha ha ha.
Anyway. I've asked. And I've been asking more urgently the closer we get to opening time. And I've finally got an answer late yesterday afternoon. My response to the answer was to ask a pile of new questions so that I could try to make sure I was going to come close-ish to what Julia thinks she wants this library to do (Julia being the Group Librarian taking a lead on this project). The more questions I've asked the more it becomes apparent that, for all the talk of this being a work strand that Policy Team has been tackling with all the deliberation one would expect from a team of highly-paid Professionals, she's making it up as she's going along. She has no more idea than me what the Library Service wants to do with this centre.
In times past I would have been sympathetic and made the effort to give her a bit of a steer towards something we could both defend. In times past. To be honest I've lost patience big time with Policy Team and this is just another reason to be annoyed with them. The most professional thing I can find it in myself to do is to ask the questions and explain why I'm asking them. Rather despite myself I think I've got the technical issues ironed out so that they'll work whichever way she jumps - I've been worrying about this so long I've subconsciously gone through a few dozen contingencies and work-throughs and three of them can be used off-the-peg. Which is just as well as it doesn't look like Milton's input on the project, which he hasn't involved me in, is delivering not a right lot either.
To cap it all, I've just had another email from Julia asking me if I want to go and talk to other libraries that are doing this so that I can determine what services we should be providing and how they should be provided.
I graciously declined the invitation.