Decking The Halls

Yes, I know it’s not yet (quite) December, but its been a horrible year so letting people start to get creative in their decorations is an important morale booster.

At the libraries this week this has led to innovative thought on how to use scrap materials to brighten the place up. We want to welcome people in as we leave lockdown.

So I’ve been both encouraging people to come up with ideas, and leading the charge – and yes, I may be a bit proud of what is starting to take a hold in our little cluster of libraries this week.

Here’s a couple of examples as we get started…

Away Day

We realised that myself and the other managers haven’t really had much opportunity to meet and catch up with everything going on this year, so yesterday we arranged to meet in a library that was closed to the public.

It was equal parts socialising with peers and brainstorming how to move the service forward out of lockdown. As we won’t know until later today what tiers we’ll be placed in it had to be largely contingency planning in very broad strokes.

And then we put on Christmas jumpers and recorded songs for the library YouTube channel. There was a lot of silliness, flubbed lines, and shuffling to maintain social distancing but it was worth it. We now await judgement as to whether we’ve made the grade, quality wise, and I’ll post links if they become available.

Odd Week Incoming

It has started well, with yesterday being a fairly productive day off, but this morning I was due to be working a late shift. The universe, however, had other ideas so I’m manning the barricades elsewhere on different hours.

Tomorrow, I’m due to be having a managers’ team day – and have had a last minute request for Christmas jumpers and or hats so we can film something. One colleague has already reached out to see if I have any spare hats or jumpers.

Okay universe, I see you. Game on…

Well It Keeps My Step Count Up

I got home today and realised that I’d been on my feet all day, barring a quick sit down for lunch. With only a small crew on duty today, it kept me on my toes, and so when I had got home and showered, I took a moment to lie on the bed and just pay attention to my body.

My feet were tingling in that “oh you’ve stopped” throb, while my calves and thighs started to feel like they would melt off like petals. A stiffness at the base of my spine suggested not running around too much more.

Of course, my brain wanted to now start doing all the creative things, but then I got distracted with food, television, and blowing up aliens on the xbox. So, I shall dig into the archives some more instead, and plonk them here for a while for a splash of colour.

Halloween Library

I made an old woman cry yesterday. I was serving her and as I removed my mask behind the screen she did a doubletake. Then she said I was the absolute double of her son, down to the beard, eyes, and voice – and tears welled up. She left quickly after, as I told her I hoped it meant it could be something she could look forward to next time – which was the best I could manage at short notice.

I don’t know the context, I assume either death or estrangement figured in the story somewhere. I don’t think anything can really prepare you for moments like that.

And so we carry on. In this case to Halloween, which feels thematically consistent at least.

Your friendly Library Manager at large

And I have assistants dressed as witches, a bone suit and face mask at the ready, and loads of families wandering in and out despite torrential rain. There are far worse ways to spend a Saturday than dressed up and having a bit of a light hearted approach to the job. It would have been the last of MCM comiccon this week so at least I’m dressed up for something.

Quiet Moments

I’m on my own, setting up for the day at the library, and there’s a certain calm to the quiet that eases my mind and nerves. Maybe its the sense of being master of my domain, or the reassurance of being alone with books and the promise of what may come today.

Either way, even with a building site next door, the quiet of a library first thing in the morning takes some beating as a way to set you up for the day.

All the computers are on, cash in the tills, daily timetable drawn up, and a clear set of shelving awaiting today’s returns. Time for a cuppa before I open the doors I think.

Ploughing Through

I’m on holiday next week, partly for Lady Mrs birthday, and partly because its that time of year again when PTSD likes to rattle the bars. It isn’t as dreadful yet as it has been in recent years, and I’m putting that down to keeping busy with as many positive things as I can.

So just this week to go, and if I can get all the paperwork concerning the new hires set up properly before I disappear I’ll treat that as a win.

This should do as a warning, yes?

Hello Winter

So, the clocks went back last night (or this morning, depending on your sleep patterns). As a result, anyone listing their activities in terms of GMT is now accurate for the next six months. So there’s that. I definitely needed that extra hour as our Pirates D&D game went on a bit later than planned – with a Halloween Beetlejuice-inspired caper.

Spooky is as spooky does

Oh, how we laughed. Well, more like screamed imprecations at the players who summoned him before finishing the containment bindings, but it did make for a fun and chaotic battle through a dollhouse.

The players learned that there was a reason I’d been grabbing and scrimshawing so many bones (healing potions reskinned as bones to break to activate). They also learned that my cleric’s version of turning undead was to shake bones and tell the zombies to f*** off back to their graves in fluent Draconic. And that said zombies tended to then explode when he did so. So that was colourful.

All of which was a good contrast to the week or so of prepping and undertaking interviewing of prospective saturday staff for the library I’ve just had. A night of mayhem was a good antidote.

Oh, and I did have time during the day to go see myr s for a few hours as well, which was also much needed by us both.

An Apprentice Appears

It sounds like the title to some High Fantasy Detective novel, but in this case its actually a work post. We’ve taken on some young apprentices at the library as part of a structured course; and today I met the one assigned to our neck of the woods (mostly because where they were due to be working is currently having its floor dug up, but that’s another story)

I don’t say this lightly, but so far I’m impressed. They’ve had previous retail and customer service experience and it shows. For their sins they’ve got to work with me again tomorrow, so there will be some interesting dynamics at play, with a very young set of people and varying degrees of motivation.

What’s the worst that could happen?

They Seek Him Here…

Do you ever get those gut feeling days where getting out of bed doesn’t appeal? That was me this morning, and while it wasn’t horrific in any sense it was busy.

It was also filled with Sod’s Law moments: like having to reset the fuses for the lights when i walked in to work, or having to change libraries to support someone when bank staff didn’t turn up for work, or a colleague telling me she was having such a stressful day that her period had started as soon as I walked through the door – with her eyes doing the flickering dance of someone whose brain is catching up with the words just after they’ve left their mouth and is considering digging a deep hole in the floor.

So we got on with the day, as the only sensible way to move on from the moment, because there was a lot to do.

So, as an antidote to that, here’s the film clip I recorded for Libraries Week on Saturday: