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

Friday, January 22, 2010

When you look at the world, God must have been joking

I was going to ask the world what, exactly, librarians are for. I really am that annoyed. Anyone who has any dealings with librarians will tell you that anything that requires any input at all from them, let alone an actual decision, is such hard work that you might as well give the game up as a bad lot to begin with.

"The People's Network's going to be putting loads of PCs and the internet in all your libraries. What services do you want to provide with them?"

"We're setting up an new library web site. Could you let me have some information about the services you're providing?"

"There's a load of government-funded activity going on in the council to meet the e-government deadlines. We seem to be well-poised to be able to deliver quite a lot with very little extra effort, which should win us all sorts of brownie points with the councillors. How do you want to progress this?"

"We're putting together a few pages of links to web pages that our customers might find useful - children's reading sites; readers'/writers' pages; book review sites, etc. I'm sure you'll have some that you've found useful. I'd be grateful for any suggestions for entries."

All the above have one thing in common: response was there none. If selecting and describing information and reading resources for the public to use isn't the job of a librarian, what are they for? I won't go into the details of the latest disappointment: I love Frog like a brother but every so often he reminds me that he's a librarian.

Having spent most of the past two decades trying to develop and deliver public services using the interplay between librarians and the corporate IT department I suppose I should celebrate that I've managed to do anything at all. I suppose.

An then that's that Tom-fool, taking yet another bit of paper over to the bin. We've finally sort of had it confirmed a bit that he's retiring at the end of the month, which we're assuming is 31st January. We're reckless that way. He is, however, going to be coming back every so often on a voluntary basis to "tidy up a few loose ends." (Warning Doctor Smith! Warning Doctor Smith!)

Noreen asked me to go and ask Julia and Jack Harry how they wanted some stuff bought last year for a special collection cataloguing. The first part of the ensuing waffle involved two librarians wondering out loud whether they should go on the catalogue in the first place.

"After all, they weren't bought from the book fund."

It was left to me to point out that in principle all library resources should be on the catalogue so that people knew we had it and the auditors could see what we've been doing with the money. After another ten minutes of slinging peanuts down the Grand Canyon I'd had enough, pretended they'd answered the question and went away and did what I should have done in the first place.


Pearl said...

You went away and did what you should've done in the first place? Just did it and let them know what you were doing later, yes?


And I loved the idea of you flinging peanuts into the Grand Canyon.
That's just silly.


Charlie said...

This may sound complex, so I'll write very slowly:

Would it not make sense to have a numerical field in the e-catalog that shows the source of funding for each book?

For example: 1 = book fund, 2 = estate, 3 = book sales, 4 = chicanery, 5 = theft from London, etc.

When the auditors want to see the book fund purchases, you just print out all the 1s.

Yeah, I know it wouldn't work. Too logical.

And the creatures at the bottom of the Grand Canyon send their thanks for the peanuts.

nursemyra said...

haha charlie, I like your numerical idea even better than the dewey decimal system

Kevin Musgrove said...

Pearl: am I really that obvious?

Charlie: if the work's been done by Noreen and Betty I can show the auditors not only which source of funding but also which fund within those budgets. Mind you, none of us are librarians... (-;

nursemyra: be careful what you wishe for!

librarylizzie said...

oi...you and I will fall out.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Lizzie: you've crossed over to the other side so you can afford to be honest: public libraries, web resources...?