Saturday, October 31, 2009
At current rates of pay you wouldn't be getting any change from £250 from any of these meetings.
Friday, October 30, 2009
This isn't yet part of the operating realities of the Library Service, thank God! The IT Section has embraced the concept of hot-desking such that whenever you log onto a PC for the first time you have to:
- Reset your password. Your password must be at least eight character long; must contain at least one number and/or "special character;" and cannot be similar to any of the last twenty-one passwords you have used in the past.
- Create an Outlook profile for your email.
- Wait for your new Outlook Inbox to populate.
- Wait for your new Outlook Inbox to synchronise with I know not what.
- Map all the network drives you need to have access to (assuming that you carry around a note of the addresses of all the appropriate servers).
- Add any and all appropriate printers to both the PC and your profile.
- Install your printer password and password permissions in the appropriate printer properties so that you'll be able to actually print some of the things that you send to the printer.
- Get the Helpdesk to enable your Internet permissions on this PC.
- Set up the shortcuts for anything that isn't Microsoft Office or Internet Explorer.
- Set up the permissions to use any peripheral devices.
This council isn't big on productivity.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
"Can you get me a list of all the books that were withdrawn from the Catalogue in April?"
"Yes. What do you want? Just the title and author? Any other information?"
"I just need a list of the books that went into the summer book sale at Roadkill Library. Can you do that for me?"
"Are the books that were withdrawn from the Catalogue in April the ones that went into the summer book sale at Roadkill Library?"
" I should think that they would be, probably. Could you email the list to Warner, telling him that these were the books in the summer book sale at Roadkill?"
"I will email him the list, telling him that these are the books withdrawn from the Catalogue in April."
Call me a pedant if you like...
Monday, October 26, 2009
- Kids riding through Epiphany Library on their bikes;
- A visit to Epiphany Library from The Jolly Community Policing Team;
- A visit from The Jolly Glazier to Senebene Library; and
- A roof-top demonstration of skateboarding skills at Carbootsale Library.
At this rate we'll have this year's Community Engagement ticks in all the boxes by Thursday.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
"Don't worry too much about it. You do OK when the whole of Policy Team is on leave at the same time," she tells them.
Which is well-meant but wrong on so many levels...
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I suppose if we're being human we can all have an arsehole moment but it's pretty inexcusable. I have a lot of grovelling to do!
Fred Anonymous writes:
"On the very day that we got confirmation that we were all getting substantial pay cuts and that there were very real possibilities of redundancies because the council's on its uppers we each and every one of us received a glossy staff magazine. Highlights include a Managing Director on a six-figure salary complaining about feeling the pinch with the credit crunch and advice to vegetarians that they can have a perfectly nice Lancashire Hot Pot by leaving out the meat."
Me and Ken are agreed that Fred's this month's winner by a country mile.
Unless you know different...
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Please ring this number beforehand to arrange for somebody to be this library to take delivery. There usually isn't somebody on site so this prior arrangement is essential.
Which lesser mortals may have taken as a hint.
Not one of our well-known national electrical and white goods companies. We got the automatic electronic telephone call yesterday evening to say that the van would be delivering the goods to Helminthdale Library some time between 7am and 1pm.
At five to seven, Alwyn takes a call from the driver asking for directions to Helminthdale Library. Which he gives. At twenty to eight they call again. Maisie takes the call and explains that
- They should be delivering to Carbootsale Library;
- The company should have made prior arrangement as requested; and
- There won't be anybody to take delivery until after nine o'clock.
"That'll muck our schedules about," complains the driver.
"Not my problem," explains Maisie.
For the next four hours the driver, and his mate, did a tour of Catty, Umpty and the bits of Bencup that nobody talks about before finally ringing up to confess that they couldn't find Carbootsale Library. Maisie provided the directions again.
And once again the next time they rang up.
Finally, they reckoned that they were in the right place but couldn't find the library.
"What road are you on?"
"What can you see when you look out of the window?"
"There's an Oxfam Shop, an Help The Aged Shop and a British Heart Foundation Shop."
"You're close enough. I'll get somebody to find you and guide you in."
Maisie then rang Verity, who'd been waiting on site and asked her to go and find the driver and hold his hand and take him back to the library.
"I'm really sorry about this Verity."
"That's alright, love. It's been nice to be back home, even if it's just for a morning."
Monday, October 19, 2009
"I had a staff meeting this morning. Bernadette and Nicki said that they could do with some training. Could you find out what training they need and make the arrangements to deliver it as soon as possible?"
I'll have a chat with them despite this; it's not their fault that their manager's too idle to bother assessing her staff's training needs.
"How was your holiday?"
"Very nice. But I'm really, really glad to be back. I just couldn't wait."
"I'll bet... Did you do anything nice?"
"I went skinny dipping."
"I thought you went to Whitby?"
"What did they say?"
"Oh, I did it at night. We were walking along the beach and it were a nice night so I decided I'd go skinny-dipping."
"Did you both go in?"
"Oh no. He stood there with his coat on, fag in one hand and a torch in the other so's I could see where I was going."
"The locals must have thought he was signalling to U-boats."
"Aye, they would do: he spent most of his time spotlighting my arse. Talk about a full moon!"
"Have you heard this? Sybil's been skinny-dipping!"
"I thought you went to Whitby!"
"You'll have been alright: they'll have thought you were wearing a powder-blue wetsuit."
Friday, October 16, 2009
To be sure, none of the printers are working and quite a few of the PCs are out of commission; the corporate internet connection's gone home to live with its mother and the mail server is spamming us with news from the four corners of the Chief Executive's office. And this place looks like a village deserted after The Golden Horde ran their horses through the cardboard box factory. And we've sent the Staff Briefing Ouija Board to the menders because it seems to need a new aerial.
But all is nearly right with the world.
Somebody has left an open bag of jelly babies on the staff room table.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
It turns out that the Urban Renewal Team have been trying to attract inward investment to the borough by telling companies that the workforce round here will take a grand less pay than in neighouring bouroughs.
That's the same Urban Renewal Team that's paying consultants to investigate why the town centre's not attracting any big name up-market shops.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Corporate Purchasing doesn't list anti-glare screens as they say they are an unnecessary expense because all new PCs have flat screens.
Maisie cannot nip out to buy a couple of anti-glare screens from the shop across the way for £10 each because she is not allowed to buy any goods not listed by Corporate Purchasing and certainly not from anywhere no longer included in the Suppliers List after Corporate Purchasing accidentally deleted the file a couple of months ago and haven't yet either found a backup or manually entered all the known existing suppliers.
So in order to save £20 we are having to buy a couple of brand new computer screens.
You know where this is going, don't you?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
"Are they for Carbootsale?" I ask Seth.
"No," he says with gritted teeth, "they're for upstairs."
"Where in God's name are they going?" I ask.
Give Seth his due: he's never short of a good suggestion or three.
My protestations that this was either lazy coincidence or film crit. fell on deaf ears, but I'm damned if I'm going to go rummaging through the reserve stock just to prove myself wrong.
Monday, October 12, 2009
"Are you OK for me going and getting some lunch?" I ask her.The time for gentility seems to have passed.
"Oh, bollocks to it. If the 'phones don't get answered they don't get answered and hard cheese. If they were that fussed they'd do something about it."
They're just about managing to provide enough lunchtime cover upstairs to keep the doors open by the creative use of odd bits of time owing and staff being willing to be rather a lot more flexible than the Library Service generally manages in recompense.
If we get any incidences of swine flu, morning sickness or lottery winnings we'll be completely screwed.
I'd bet a quarter of the public libraries across the country could say similarly and we've not even had the "savage public spending cuts" yet...
Friday, October 09, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
"Look lads, you've been told: tone the language down. No swearing in the library please."
"We're not doing nowt."
"Yes you have. The ladies over there have told you three times now. Pack it in."
"Pack what in?"
"Cut out the swearing."
"You're just picking on us. I've not been fucking swearing."
The one time I've been on corporate induction training was back in the bad old days of local government in the eighties, when I was working for Loamshire. We had a welcome from the Chief Executive; visits to a library, a fire station, a disabled person's rehabilitation unit (that was an eye-opener!); an explanation of the corporate executive and political structures; and a half-hour presentation by the Deputy Chief Executive on public sector ethics and the legal boundaries we had to work within.
These days we're more customer-oriented.
Posy was subjected to an hour-long presentation about the Bobbing Up And Down Team; a presentation on the aims and targets of the Bobbing Up And Down Team; and an introduction to The Hexagon Of Excellence...
"They said that they'd had a two-day meeting to talk about the aims of the council and they decided that they are:
- 'It would be nice if Helminthdale was a nice place to live'
- 'It would be nice if everyone was nice to each other.'
- 'It would be nice if there were some nice shops.'"
"There, there... It comes as a shock at first but you soon get used to it."
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
- You realise you need more than 10 sheets.
- You ring the Printing Unit for a quote.
- They email you the first number they thought of.
- You say something rude.
- You reply to the email asking if the quote is "quite right."
- They email you a revised quote which works out as seven times the cost of just getting it done yourself.
Your tax pound at work.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
We have a firm date for Mary's retirement: "sometime at the end of the month."
"We'll have to arrange a collection," says T.Aldous. "And we'll have to think of something to get her as a retirement present. Whose decision would that be?"
"I suspect it might be yours," replies Maisie in perfect dead-pan.
Monday, October 05, 2009
Today, Frog's had a full day doing school visits and I'm not overly sure he's managed to get his breath back from all the Poetry In The Park stuff the other week: he looks a bit rough. So I could understand his not being entirely impressed by Lola's greeting on his return:
"We've not had any notices sent to us for those Stories & Songs sessions."
"Well, it is an event at your library. You might want to do some yourself."
The energetically enthusiastic response prompted Frog to take his coat back off and start doing a notice, if only to cover his back for when there are complaints to T.Aldous about the lack of publicity upstairs. I offered to do it for him so's he could make his planned escape for the evening.
"Oh no: I want to be properly annoyed by this one."
I didn't even manage a full morning
Bronwyn came over to ask me a question:
"Did you know that Catty Library has set up a reserve stock collection and set it up so that those books aren't available for use anywhere else in the Borough?"
Well no, I didn't. It ought not to be in the realms of possibility that I should know but I don't, I'm just the Systems Librarian. Bronwyn, however, really should know as she's responsible for stock management and stock profiles in every library we've got.
"I only found out when I tried to reserve a copy of this book for a customer and discovered that I couldn't," she explains. "When I rang up to ask about it they said that they put all the books that were too big to go on the shelves into boxes and put them in the back room. And changed the loan types so that they weren't available for loan elsewhere."
We both wondered what "too big" meant in this context. The book in question turned out to be only very slightly thicker than The Beano Book. Then we both tried not to go off on one on the subject of Catty Library.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
He thought he'd come along to tell us how we could work in partnership with Sheep City. It turned out that we knew better than him. "I don't really know what the Library Service does" wasn't a good opening gambit on his part. As it happens, Frog has spent the past fortnight working in partnership with Sheep City: a week-long Poetry In The Park programme for schools followed by a bunch of storytelling workshops for new parents; Bronwyn's arranging a couple of author visits to tie in with some of the centre's Autumn Programme; Maybelle's halfway through some community consultation work with the Cultural Development Officer; we work closely with the Heritage Centre to deliver local studies services there and in our libraries; and I'm working on some webby stuff with Henry (we're pretending we can avoid involving the museum staff as they're a bit odd).
It all got a bit vague and fluffy after that...
Saturday, October 03, 2009
I was on the point of asking why they hadn't planned and primed everybody so that once we knew a date we could set the machine in motion and do a bit of pre-publicity when I remembered that every single big piece of work I'm struggling with at the moment actually had a launch date set in stone and they still didn'y plan or prime anyway and I spared myself an embarassing redundancy.
"We'd discussed this in Policy Team but we hadn't got a date for it."
Friday, October 02, 2009
It's another Friday afternoon. T.Aldous toddles up with another piece of work he's been sitting on for three weeks which is now urgent.
"You're going to shout at me about this. This is urgent, can it be done by Tuesday?"
"I suppose I can try my best."
"I've been meaning to ask you to do it. It's very important."
"I can give it a go I suppose."
"So it can be done then?"
"Well... I can't give you any guarantees. I've got a lot on. I'll try my best."
"But it's a priority."
"Everything's a priority these days."
"Can't you prioritise then?"
"I've decided. I'm going to set myself a goal for next week. I'm going to try and go the whole week without having to bitch about Catty Library."
"I mean it. I'm sick of hearing me moaning about them."
"Not a hope."
"It's not like they're closed all next week."
"I don't care. A lad needs to set himself some goals."
"There's no point in setting goals that aren't realistic."
I mention this to Noreen. She provides some useful advice:
"Set yourself the goal of not killing any of them."