The boxes "belong" to the Assistant Librarians and they're full of books that either need transferring to another library, transferring into the reserve stock collection, replacing with new copies or removing from the catalogue completely. T.Aldous is annoyed that they've been there for months. This isn't strictly true: there have been boxes in that area for months but they've not been the same boxes throughout. T.Aldous, like most of the rest of our management team, has no concept of dynamic process or throughput.
For years we didn't stock-edit our shelves. In part this was because the Stock Editor, Monsieur Eddie Gravy, didn't get on with the Assistant Librarians. But mostly it was because T.Aldous' predecessor saw the inability to jam another book onto the shelves as a signal to his professional virility. (The remaining stock we have from his time all have broken spines.) When Eddie left there wasn't anybody around to officially stock-edit any more. Some of the library assistants took it on themselves to do the necessary, weeding the lame and unloved out from the overstocked shelves. They got a bollocking for their trouble and went back into their box.
Of course, while all this was going on T.Aldous negotiated a rise in the book fund. Which should be A Good Thing in a public library. Unfortunately, while we were meeting our performance target of 50,000 new books per annum we weren't doing anything about either removing 50,000 items off the shelves or getting additional shelf space. Quite the reverse, in fact. We clung onto the old stock and reduced the amount of shelving in nearly all our libraries.
Which is why Windscape Library didn't have any children's books less than three years old on their shelves. All the new stuff was in boxes in the back room.
Bronwyn has been in post a year now and she is starting to see some headway in all this. Unfortunately, a massive stock-edit of our libraries means that there is a hell of a lot of stock to transfer to another library, transfer to reserve stock, or get rid off. And this takes time. Especially when the Assistant Librarians at Catty Library send their stock over to Helminthdale to be sorted because they "are too busy to do it."
Oh, and when the Chief Librarian insists on vetting the stock to be chucked out and put into book sale.
"You can't put that into book sale. We bought it in 2001 and it's never been issued. What will people say if they see that?"
Perhaps they'd say it's precisely the stock that hasn't issued in eight years that should be removed from the lending library stock.