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

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hysteria Lodge

Hoots of derision coming from Maybelle's desk. On investigating I find the woman herself wracked with laughter. I fear for either her pelvic floor or the shoulder she injured playing rugby the other day.

With faltering motions she points towards the cause. It's her turn for an email from the reference library.

Please could you ask all your staff to file the newspapers in such a way as to make them easily accessible. We are librarians, after all.

"It's probably not meant that way," I say.

"No, to be fair, it's probably not meant that way," agrees Maybelle.

"And it is a fair point that we need to make sure that materials are made easily accessible," I point out.

"Oh yes, that's a fair point," agreed Maybelle. "And it's probably not meant that way."

"No," I agree, "it's probably not meant that way."

We'll get no sense out of her until after lunchtime.


Bronwyn is feeling cleansed.

"I've got rid of all of those Larry Grayson bookmarks in Mary's office. And the box of leaflets about the Millennium Book Festival. And the "Jimmy and Alfie go to The Reading Room" leaflets. And I've collected up all the spare stickers from all the reading games, Reading Agency promotions and the Pussycat Willum postcards so that we can start giving them out as freebies to the children who come in for class visits or special events."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Never did take to bricklaying

Well bugger me sideways... Evidently one of the reference books that did make it to the standing order list is the brand spanking new 2010 edition of 'The Cab-Men of Huntingdonshire, volume A-E.' Well worth the price of thirty-one copies of 'The Beano Book' that Frog can't buy twenty copies of because the book fund's frozen.

I'm appalled that we ever bought this tome in the first place, let alone now in the current circumstances.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A drop of the hard stuff

"The printer's not letting us print the notices for tomorrow's author event," says Maudie.

"Shall we have yet another look at the settings to see what's wrong this time?" asks Maisie.

"Bollocks to it," decides Maudie.

It's been that type of a week.

The never-ending story

Noreen gets an email from Helminthdale Reference Library.

To: Acq Team
From: Reference

These titles are updated monthly. We don't seem to have received them
recently. Please can you find out why.

From: Noreen
To: Reference

We've not been ordering updates of these titles because they aren't on your standing order list.

To: Acq Team
From: Reference

When can we expect to receive the updates?

I knew that when she wasn't busy being an international terrorist she had a sense of humour

Teachers. There, I've said it. Some of my best friends are teachers. But some teachers need a hard dose of reality, possibly because they've only ever gone to school, gone to college, gone back to school and not even been allowed to write their own letters to parents.

Last week, one of the teachers at St. Ignatius Lilo Primary School arranged for her class to visit Epiphany Library. This is routine stuff, we do it all the time. We're a library service. We encourage classes of schoolchildren. We let them borrow books. We suggest books and stories suitable for the children. We suggest books and stories suitable for the teachers and the classroom helpers. Wherever and whenever possible we try to provide a bit of value-added with a bit of a story time or some reading games. Which is why the teacher wanted to come to the library: she'd already been a few times and it had been a good thing.

Unfortunately, she wouldn't be able to come to the library herself this time but a colleague would be doing the honours.

Doubly-unfortunately we've got a few people off sick, a few on maternity leave and a few vacancies that haven't been filled, so we're struggling for staff to keep the doors open. It became horribly apparent yesterday that the staff at Epiphany Library would "only" be able to welcome the class, show them around and help them borrow as many books as they liked but that she wouldn't be able to do a story time as she'd be having to deal with the other customers as well (she's also having to do the caretaking duties but that's another can of worms). So Posy rang the school to explain the situation and to stress that while we were very happy to see them we could only give them the key deliverables. The teacher seemed OK with that and all was well.

The kids came in, were welcomed, were shown round, etc. And all went swimmingly until the final moment of the visit when the accompanying teacher turned to the Library Assistant and, instead of saying "thank you," said:

"You should have spent all your time with us instead of standing round at the counter answering 'phone calls. It's very unprofessional."

By and large we have extremely professional (small and important "p") front-line staff. Far too professional for one of them to point out that a well-paid role model's dissing someone on half her salary in front of a class of impressionable young five-year-olds isn't exactly the acme of professionalism.

Making budgets bounce with health

How budgets work:
  • You are given a pot of money, with which to buy authorised materials.
  • You buy, or order, authorised materials, spending and/or committing the money in your budget.
  • The council freezes all expenditure on everything except consultants and certain essentials.
  • You stop ordering anything that costs money.
  • You are told that you are allowed to spend a very tiny amount.
  • You check that the very tiny amount you are told you can spend is more than the amount you have committed for items awaiting delivery.
  • You find that you have a teeny, tiny amount of money that you can safely spend on a few Christmas blockbusters.
  • You get a bollocking for overspending your budget.
  • You find that three days before you ordered a few Christmas blockbusters somebody decided to remove a large amount of money from your budget to offset an income target that's entirely unachievable because we don't charge people for renting these items any more because we haven't had any of them for more than sixteen years.

Which is why Bronwyn's spent the past two days trying to explain the concept of advance stock ordering to T.Aldous. The explanation that this is the only way to make sure that we get copies of popular titles less than a month after people start complaining that they've "seen copies on sale in Tesco and Asda so why isn't there a copy at my library?" is like water off a duck's back.

"So why are you overspent then? The books haven't arrived yet."

"Because the money was already committed in September and you've taken even more than that out of the budget."

"Well, I can't see why you've needed to overspend."

This isn't a good day to wind Bronwyn up with the three boxes of Larry Grayson bookmarks we found in Mary's office.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Most efficacious in every way

Oh deep joy.

This council's network is never exactly speedy. In fact, we've never really managed to regain the heady line speeds we got used to when we installed our first internet PCs back in '97. Back then you could watch a web page load in a minute or even less. Younger members of staff scorn such ideas as being tainted with the rose-tinted glasses of the purest nostalgic blarney.

Top of today's treats is not having access to our web site. Or our web catalogue. Or our suppliers' catalogues. Or our personal folders. Or USB devices. A combination of network mapping "anomalies," a massive anti-virus upgrade and a corporate internet filter that deems all corporately-derived traffic as being spam appears to be to blame. Or at least, it does if you piece together all the explanations provided by the IT Section over the past three days. Delaney's donkey's probably in there, too, somewhere.

The public PCs are generally better as they're on a different network. Having said that we're still having more fun than we really want. British Standards Online is being a pig to make available, primarily because there's no British Standard for providing a customer-responsive information service; Amish Online isn't available because the buttons don't work; the internet security update is stopping emails' opening; and nothing's going to the network printers.

Happy days...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Goodwill and that

It's that time of year again. Lola and Salome have spent the past few days trying to head off the usual Christmas Party Big Drama at Windscale Library and don't seem to be having any better luck this year than usual.

If the staff at the library could just confine themselves to buying in a few cakes and lots of fizzy pop and bedecking the library with bunting and paper chains then it would be a splendid occasion and a jewel in the library calendar.

Unfortunately, it always deteriorates into arguments about who's making the cakes and buns and how much time they can claim back for the doing thereof (which nearly always should be "none" as bought-in's quite adequate for the purpose and we're so short-staffed we can't afford to have people taking half a day off for baking). Of course it's never as easy as that and there's always some point in history where somebody agreed to something or other and this is taken as cast-iron and immoveable custom and practice (whereas doing something like taking the tatty old books off the shelves and replacing them with the new stock that's been boxed up in the staff room since it arrived six months ago is entirely optional).

The backwash from the event always lingers up to the summer holidays. We've only had a couple of weeks' worth of the overture and beginners and already there's talk round here of either having the place subjected to a food inspection or else praying for a power cut.

The Mousetrap

There's always someone worse off than yourself.

A colleague elsewhere in the council is struggling with a new casework system. The purpose of the system is the recording of information that may be used in legal proceedings some time in the future, including lots of who said what and when. Consequently there are a lot of fields requiring a lot of narrative text which requires verbatim transcription from other files and/or written notes. And like most modern systems you can hit the tab key to take you down to the next field.

So they're not best pleased to find that this system logs you off in mid-flow as you're typing because it's decided that seeing as you haven't clicked the mouse in the past five minutes this must be an inactive session. So you then have to log back on, search for the record you were working on and try and pick up where you were so rudely interrupted.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Till you find you've been bitten in the bulwarks by a shark

We are extremely fortunate that despite incessant rain for the past nine days we haven't experienced any major flooding incidents like folk further up north. (And best wishes and good luck to them as are affected.)

This doesn't mean that we escape entirely scot free. Dutch Bend town centre, situated as it is at the confluence of couple of dozen brooks, becks, sewage works and canal overflows with the River Ump, is given to flooding and this season hasn't disappointed. We're lucky in that the library's part of the old town built on the high ground next to the church and environs offering sanctuary for townsfolk and their sundry livestock. The latter may explain some of the anomalies between the visitor counts and issue figures.

Gypsy Lane Library's flooding problems are a new phenomenon perhaps not entirely unrelated to a developer's having concreted over the village pond behind the library so that he could build a block of bijou executive apartments.

Catty Library's building an ark. We think they're suffering the effects of all that varnish on the new floor.

Take two poppets into the shower?

Waves of hatred are emanating T.Aldous' way from Corporate Helminthdale. He's refusing to pay an invoice for the Bobbing Up and Down Team's Healthy Helminthadle Initiative. He doesn't see why the Library Service should be paying to subsidise Housing Benefits staff's swimming sessions.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The singing toilet bowl

Much tumult and noise from the ladies' toilets, and the library not even open yet.

Salome spotted Lippy heading that way, sneaked in, switched off the light and hid behind the stall door. As Lippy entered and switched on the light Salome jumped out and shouted "Boo!"

Cue hysteria, screams of "I'm a ghostie!" and five minutes' worth of rude posterior noises made with the mouth.

Neither of these ladies is going to be seeing their fortieth birthday again. I don't know what the young ones make of it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Relax, Goldilocks, and eat your porridge!

Over the past few hours every Reference Librarian on this side of the borough has rung Noreen asking what titles are on standing order.

Not only has Noreen provided them with umpteen copies of the standing order list, the Reference Librarians wrote it!

These are the people bringing Knowledge Management into the community...

Is Dad's Army on?

The Acq. Team receive a 'phone call from Catty Library. Noreen's patience is tested...

"What do we get on standing order these days?"

"I've sent three copies of the standing order list to Catty Library in the past two weeks."

"I can't find it. Can you check for me?"

"What am I looking for?"

"The Minutes of The Annual Meeting of the Particular Brethren."

"I'll just check... ...No, that one's been cancelled."


"Yes, the Reference Librarians finally came up with a list of the standing orders we needed to pass on to the new supplier and quite a few titles were dropped in the process so that we weren't vastly overspending that budget yet again."

"But Mrs. Feathergill comes in to read this every year without fail!"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We rumba'ed to Edmundo Ros

It's Umpty Carnival next week and a few weeks ago Julia asked Frog to book a performer for the library's contribution to the hostilities. This he did forthwith. He also passed on the performer's request for a few bits of local colour that he could work into his patter - local landmarks, football teams, that sort of thing - to Julia and the librarians at Umpty.

This morning he gets an indignant 'phone call from one of the librarians over there. Frog had to spend twenty minutes providing a diplomatic answer to the question "Do I really have to do all this work before Saturday? I'm far too busy!"

He was interrupted in the middle of making the arrangements for another event at Umpty and doing the paperwork for the audit of Bookstart Treasure Box provision in the Umpty and Catty areas while his adversary had spent all morning sitting in the back office transferring three books to Gypsy Lane Library. In the circumstances I think he deserves a medal for tact and diplomacy.

A man trying to shave a drunken bear

The council's new cost-saving and efficiency regime is so successful that Maisie and Maudie are spending three staff days a week dealing with the support calls from people trying to get their PCs and passwords accepted by the printers or trying to work out why, if the printers are all the same, all the print settings are different from place to place.

This week they've wasted half a ream of paper in test prints so it's been a rip-roaring success so far.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kerosene lamp belong Jesus went bugger-up

Bronwyn was coming out of a meeting in the council one-stop-shop when she overheard this gem of an exchange between a little old lady and one of the workers behind the counter.

"It's no better."

"It's no better?"

"Nay, lad. It's no better."

"No better than..."

"It's no better than the last time I came in and telled you."

"So... do you want me to..."

"I just thought I'd come in and tell you it were no better."

And off she went.

As the worker in question was a relative, Bronwyn couldn't resist asking: "what was all that about?"

"I've no idea. I was hoping that if I kept her talking long enough she might give me a clue but she wasn't having any of it."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chairs XIV

"What are all these chairs doing stacked up here?" asks T.Aldous.

To be fair, it's a question any one of us could ask at any time, though the answer usually starts "T.Aldous..."

"That lot's for going out to Spadespit and them's for Roadkill Library," explains Seth.

"How are they getting there?"

"They're being picked up and delivered on Thursday."

"What are they going out for?"

"I've no idea."

"Nobody tells me anything in this place!" pouts T.Aldous.

The damned fool's only been in three hours and he's spent all that time sat in his office making a nuisance of himself with the telephone. This is not lost on Seth:

"Congratulations! You're now exactly the same as every other member of staff in the Library Service."

An hitherto well-loved favourite

You can tell that Big Chief Whatalumber is back in town. We've spent all day answering 'phone calls for him.

"I keep ringing people and they're not in and then they ring back when Maisie's not at her desk."

The painfully obvious question is: why doesn't T.Aldous answer his own telephone?

The painfully bewildering answer is that he says that he has to put his 'phone through to Maisie so that if anybody rings him while he's on his 'phone he won't miss their call.

So what happens is that Maisie's 'phone rings. Somebody (far too often poor old Maisie herself) then has to trot over to T.Aldous' office, peek in, try and work out whether or not he's on his 'phone, realise that he is, trot back and tell the person who would otherwise have been confronted with an engaged tone:

"Sorry, he's on the 'phone at the moment."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sitting on the point of the captain's compass

Jimmy Huddersfield and I were discussing the Library Service post-Mary. We've both been sure that T.Aldous wouldn't be staying long after Mary retired: they've worked hand-in-glove for far too long for your man to be comfortable flying solo. Mary's working part-time for the past few months has changed the dynamic somewhat, with Julia coming to the fore as the generally-preferred partner-in-muddle, but we still think that T.Aldous won't be running the show this time next year. Added to that, the gossip in the Pay & Pensions Department is that he won't be hanging round after the end of the financial year. Mind you, according to the gossip in Pay & Pensions there won't be anyone over the age of twenty working for the council after Easter.

So what would happen post-T.Aldous? I'm not sure that he'd be replaced: after all, Warner's the head of service and he's got a whole Policy Team to run the show for him. And besides, we're massively over spent on the staffing budget (how??? we're constantly scratching for cover for all our libraries to keep the doors open...) and the council's boracic with only enough money to pay consultancy fees and councillors' expenses. Of course, all this would mean that some of Policy Team would have to up their game quite a bit. T.Aldous, for all his many faults, has much to commend him. He works damned hard, just too often not very effectively as he's hopeless at picking and choosing his battles and gets a tad obsessive about irrelevancies.

And the obvious question arises: how would some folk cope without having T.Aldous around to blame for not getting things done? We live in a time of Chinese proverbs...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Does anyone have a favourite woodcock?

I shall hang you on doodads no longer: this is an outline sketch of the salient events of Mary's last day in work.

The staff had organised a pot-luck brunch for Mary (which gave the caretaking and cleaning staff the opportunity to join in) and a lot of goodies were provided. People popped in from all over the place, including escapees like Jimmy Huddersfield, Tilly Floss and Onabushkan Flo. It was all very warm and convivial and pleasant. Warner Baxter popped in to say cheerio to Mary. And he waited, and everyone else waited, and Mary waited...

T.Aldous made a big fuss and got everybody into the staff room who wasn't needed to cover the front line in the library. Everybody got in, awaiting the presentation of gifts and card. T.Aldous returned, said thank you, took a photo and disappeared.

Eventually it started to dawn on people that that was that and they slowly drifted away.

Just after lunch T.Aldous made it known that everybody was to go upstairs to the Lending Library as he wanted to present Mary with the thanks of the Library Service and a parting gift. Now, this was well meant but... It would have been OK in a branch library, where the customers know the individual staff very well and are grateful for the opportunity to say thank you and good luck to departing people. But not often in our biggest library, where service tends to be a bit more of the production line methodology. And especially not as it's been a quarter of a century since Mary worked on the front line. The customers looked on bemused as T.Aldous did his spiel and Mary tried not to be embarassed.

The gift was a nice bouquet of flowers in a box. Which isn't the gift we've all chipped in for. And Mary's not had her card yet. We're hoping that both are being saved for the evening meal that's been organised for next week.

As I said the other day: well-meaning, but really not quite right.

Then Mary attended her last Policy Team Meeting, where they discussed the latest budget cuts.

Friday, November 13, 2009


We finally got the keys back to Carbootsale Library the other day. Milton and I nip over to have a look at the results of a very major bit of building work.

It looks utterly fucking fabulous.

You can ride a bike, still play tennis or drown an old cricketer

Jack Harry's been in post a few weeks now.

"How's it feel to be part of the machinery of ruthless pursuit of excellence in public library service delivery?" I ask him.

"It's... interesting," he replies.

I don't remember him being grey when he started with us.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It'll never, ever, ever be filmed by Ken Russell

Another afternoon where three librarians spend over an hour poring over the whys and wherefores of four rather foxed old paperbacks' accidentally being transferred to one of our libraries rather than being withdrawn from stock because they've more than had their day.

We have half a million of the bloody things. I shudder to think how many librarian hours would be involved in a review of the disposition of our stock.

Oh, so that's what librarians do is it? Someone needs to tell Bronwyn: she's running herself into the ground trying to put together a comprehenisve stock profile and replenishment process pretty much by herself.

Chairs XIIa

Twenty-seven chairs arrive. They were ordered before the recent budget clampdown and so have to be accepted, though somebody will get the usual bollocking from Corporate Finance for having ordered something that arrives after an unannounced surprise panic spending freeze.

There is one big problem: of the people available in Policy Team today, neither is prepared to accept responsibility for accepting delivery just in case T.Aldous on his return decides that they are the wrong shade of wood.

Santa got my letter after all!

I bumped into Ken Barmy at Victoria Station.

"I think we'll be supplying you with a Xmas story this year," he winked.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009



"My son's starting to understand how the books are arranged on the bookshelves. He's only 34. I'll make a librarian of him yet."

"That could count as child abuse."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Putting on the vanities

A visitor, known to me, is being given the Cook's Tour of the premises...

"And what do you do?" she asked me.

"Essentially, I'm just here as eye candy," I explained, truthfully.

"Don't kid yourself sugarbutty," muttered Sybil, unkindly.

Monday, November 09, 2009

A thousand things to make with matchsticks

The question was: Mary is retiring at the end of this week. What plans have been made in preparation?

The options were:
  • "Something will come up"
  • "We'll have to have a think about this"
  • "We'll need to prioritise"
  • "There's plenty of time yet"
  • "We'll have to sort out an arrangement for that"
  • "We can't say anything at the moment"
  • All of the above
The 81% of you who said: "All of the above" were, sadly, exactly right. The rest of you were too optimistic for words.

Hemlock all round, kids!

Full and fair ones, come and buy!

Our corridor full of boxes is put into context. A colleague reveals:

"I have an office and corridor full of PCs and monitors that are no good to anyone, their current function is to upset the Health and Safety militia by being "hazards", which in the grand scheme of things rates as rather comfortably functional.

"There are only so many as our IT Section have been "renegotiating" the contract with disposal companies. This has taken six months during which time we have not been able to get rid of anything. Previously we would ring up, arrange a collection date and big wagon would appear with two hefty lads to shift mountains of defunct People's Network PCs. However we seem to have reduced in our expectation, as instead of wagon, two hefty bodies and capacity to remove up to ten palettes of stuff, we now have the ability to move five PCs at a time! So this is going to become a race, can we stop replacing PCs quicker than they can dispose of them?

"In order to try and assist matters the Council have introduced their annual spending freeze as we again have overspent on such as bookmarks with pictures of Councillors on them, so I can't spend more than £100 on anything without Chief Officer permission."

Friday, November 06, 2009

Oh. My. God.

It's Mary's last day at the farmstead and so far it's proving... no, I won't, I need to get a bit of perspective on this and the day is not yet over and may yet be capable of redemption.

The good news is that a lot of people have put in a lot of effort to give her a bit of a send-off and have personally wished her the best of luck, so she won't feel abandoned. And for all that she could be hard work to deal with as a manager she is a genuinely nice person so I'm sure people will keep in touch with her. And there's an evening leaving do for her in a couple of weeks' time. So that's all nice.

And even the bad news is the result of well-meaning utter wrong-headedness. Let's have sleeping dogs lie, eh?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Glass-blowing for the over-eighties

There's been a bit of discussion about Margaret Hodge's speech to the Public Library Association the other week, wherein she posited a clutch of innovative blue skies ideas that the public library world could do well to consider. Most of the discussion has been along the lines of "but we already do that!"

"Which of you are going to be the first to provide libraries in shopping centres?" she asked. Well, we have for the best part of two decades and we were by no means the first. The day we're innovative leaders in this particular context the Pope will be baring his bum at the Vatican.

She then went on to suggest that we should try and attract young male readers by stocking comics and Manga books. Again, old news. We were very late into this game, only starting stocking graphic novels (which are mostly, but not exclusively, comics collected into book form) and Manga as part of a project aimed at young adult males just before the Millennium. (I'd be happy for us not to stock Manga, too much of which I find to be quite misogynistic, but the market's there right enough.)

She'll be telling us next that we might like to have a few computers about the place and do story times for pre-school children.

I could understand the minister responsible for the nuclear industry not being up to speed on the latest technological developments but you'd like to think that the minister responsible for libraries would have at least the educated lay person's idea of what's happening in a service that is provided most every day to most every community. (I can say that with some confidence seeing as we're all required to have at least one service point within a mile's radius of 95% of the population).

We keep wittering on about the lack of national leadership. Is it any wonder...

It's not much of a life if you're just a pretty face

How to propagate fear and paranoia without really trying:

"Hello Lippy, you're looking very nice

"What do you want?"

"Nothing. I thought I'd just tell you that you looked very nice today."

"Go away! I can't cope with this!"

Sigh... ning

"Is Mary's card around? I've not signed it yet," I said to Maisie.

"No one except me and Maudie have signed it. We bought it weeks ago and thought it would be best to give it to T.Aldous straight away to sign so that we'd get the usual delay over and done with first and then get it round the libraries in time for her retirement. Just this once we wanted to avoid getting everyone to sign it, give it to T.Aldous and then not get it back till a week after the event."

"I don't need to ask the next question, do I?"

"Better not. I'd only cry."

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

All day long the sky is blue and everyone agrees with you in Shangri-La

The Catty Examiner has never been a Paper Of Record. But as local rags go, it has pootled along and so long as you knew the personal and political jealousies underpinning the editorial bias it generally got enough of the facts right for you to know what was going on.

Unfortunately, The Catty Examiner, like many other local papers, is owned by the Grauniad Media group. The Grauniad's steady decline over the past five decades from being The Manchester Guardian to becoming The Islington Boulevardier's Gazette has been a sad one but only of limited interest due to its affecting just the one newspaper. Alas, expensive experiments in Berliner format, Huge Foaming-Witterings and staff charabanc trips to exotic locations like Battersea, Borough Market and Brixton have chastened the coffers and Economies Must Be Made. Which translates into "continue to spend money like water in metropolitan pursuits and sack lots of journalists in local papers and close down offices." Something to bear in mind next time a Grauniad columnist bangs on about the importance of localism and community empowerment. What this means for us locally is that our three local papers have shut up shop and now run from a desk somewhere in a back office in Manchester (until the Evening News gets its legs cut off from under it, in which case they'll all be run from the Colonial Desk at Farringdon Lane).

We're already seeing the results, with "news stories" that even the greenest local cub reporter would pick holes in. Today we have an entirely artificial kerfuffle caused by a report that there's apparently a row about Social Services moving out of Milkbeck Library.

Social Services have never been in Milkbeck Library.

Doreen has had a pile of work on her hands caused by the Housing Advice Team moving into Milkbeck Library after a cock-up over office accommodation elsewhere in the community. This could have quite a lot of benefits to both services and to their customers, but like everything else in Helminthdale Council it's been an unplanned last-minute fiasco. Luckily, we could jiggle things round rather a lot to make enough space for a new advice desk, but not without taking the local audiovisual collection out of service in the process.

Which would have been a truer, and more interesting, story for the newspaper.

One hand clapping

Every so often we get spiritual succour.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

We passed upon the stair

The good news is that we've lot of new books coming in for our libraries, particularly for Carbootsale Library, which may be opening very soon.

The bad news is that we've got seventy-two boxes of books in the fire escape corridor.

The good news is that after a fire inspection report we'll start storing incoming boxes in the dispatch room, where they should have been going for the past two decades.

The bad news is that it's all a bit academic really: the book fund's been frozen 'cos the council's skint.

Ninja butterfly collectors

Mary retires for good at the end of this week. I wonder if you can guess what preparations have been made for transferring her workload and line management responsibilities...

I think that's an excuse for a poll.

Monday, November 02, 2009

I probably would have kept on guessing but about that time we crashed into that truck

We get word of the new corporate vision for Helminthdale Council...

Helminthdale Council will work to put service to the customer at the forefront of its activities.

It doesn't seem to occur to anybody to be embrassed that a local authority actually has to say this. Nor that it's taken the Council's Bobbing Up And Down Team eighteen months to come up with it.