Professional Calm Moment

I love the Great British Public, even when I could cheerfully be very rude back at certain individuals. I’m so proud of my restraint and professionalism this afternoon that I had a twenty minute rant about the incident during counselling this evening.

I had a young man come to the door and ask to use the computers. When I said I would need to book him in because we have to log people for track and trace purposes he started on a bizarre ramble about how it was time to stop with covid now. It wasn’t that bad and was now being used both as a method of control and a smokescreen to distract from Brexit.

I’m sure, while you unpick all that, you’ll be amazed that I limited my response to a brief statement that I would not be entering into any discussion about it with him and sorted out the access he needed.

I then had to send my Saturday staff elsewhere as he started creeping on them, and had to have a word about boundaries with him.

Repeat after me: the common sense of the British public will get us through this.

What a cockwomble

Key Worker

Today I learned that library staff are now classified as key workers – I suppose its good to have that confirmed rather than just bat the idea around. Certainly the steady stream of book requests and queues at the door reinforce that for us, along with the heart-felt thanks from people of all ages.

It must be time for a cuppa

On a lighter note I had a very brief health worry yesterday with sharp pains coming and going low in the abdomen on my right hand side. One quick Google for symptoms suggested either a liver problem, or appendicitis, among possibilities but both of them mentioned an inability to pass gas.

Pretty much immediately on reading that, I passed gas and fortunately was on my own so didn’t gas anyone. Lady M and myr s can attest to how lucky my staff were. And lo and behold the pain was gone.

If that’s the worst health issue I have, I can live with that…

All Ending In Tiers

I couldn’t resist the joke.

Within ten minutes of the announcement of Surrey going in to Tier 3 restrictions I had people coming in wanting to grab as many books as possible. They were afraid we were about to close our doors.

Thankfully I was in a position to be able to tell them that while they were very welcome to carry as many books as they could, we would be remaining open so they could relax. Our existing precautions and spaces, along with the fact we don’t serve food or drink meant we don’t need to alter the service we provide.

There was much relief, and slightly less worry as a result.

I have one more day of work and then I’m off until after Christmas. I feel I’ve earned the break.

Jawdrop Moment

I was shelving books the other day, and was approached by a customer, book in hand. Nothing unusual there, it’s part and parcel of my daily work routine.

The customer wanted to know if we had the latest book by the author they had just finished reading – which was a bit of a problem because they held in their hand The Quarry – the last book written by Iain Banks before his death in 2013.

I gently broke it to them that this wouldn’t be possible – barring an upcoming non fiction work due out next year based on his notes and drawings around his Culture series of books. I thought that perhaps this was what they meant when they asked after his next book

And this is where the conversation wandered sideways a little: I was berated for keeping the books of a dead man on the shelves if there weren’t going to be any more books by them.

I’d love to say that I had the presence of mind to sassily spread my arms to encompass the many, many works by dead people on our shelves, but they turned on their heel and walked out, leaving the book on top of the desk beside us before I could gather my wits.

I love working with the public, and sometimes it is precisely because of the surreal conversations I have with them.

Carry On

There were interviews yesterday for a fixed term addition to our local managers during the restructure to make up for people who retired earlier in the year. I have been regaled today with stories from staff who were on-site where the interviews were taking place, and I’ve realised what I’m most looking forward to, whoever gets the position:

Someone else I can gossip with. My usual go-to peer for this is dealing with a family emergency, and I’m having to bite my lip at some of the unfiltered comments that have been made.

So, sorry whoever gets the job, you’re going to get your ear bent in the near future (though not until tomorrow apparently)

It’s a funny day, can you tell?

Oh, The Usual Chaos

We’ve been able to reopen the libraries for browsing by the public, so its nice to see that most of the requests this morning have been to use the photocopier. Given that yesterday we started the consultation phase for a new restructure, that may only be a moderately salty comment.

I read through the documentation, rushed through the seven stages of grief and then got on with the day because I’ve always found there’s two things that help put things in perspective: being actually very busy with customers and their enquiries, and the sudden and unexpected death of a colleague’s relative.

Compared to that, my minor grumps are very small beans indeed.

Whizzing Through

Wait, did we just have a weekend? We must have done because technically its now Monday. Hmm, well I was working on Saturday, so that explains that chunk of missing time. It was actually very productive, and a lot more quiet decoration of library windows took place than expected.

Then I had counselling, and that was challenging and wiped out the few reserves I had left.

Sunday was quiet, but I managed to get the Christmas tree up and wrap more presents despite the continued low ebb – and then we had the joyous chaos of our D&D session which has energised me and lifted my spirits so much my cheeks are aching from grinning.

So, that happened…

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.