Under its new manager, the TRL Browsery has seen more upgrades in the last ten days than at any time under the régime of the previous manager.
I’m basically going to stop complaining about the Reference Library Browsery for a while after having been actually listened to – a first – by its new manager.
Picture my surprise to see City Librarian Jane Pyper and her retinue saunter regally through the Reference Library Browsery today. If my assumptions are correct, they even took a look at the washrooms, which, now that the TTC has upgraded those in the subway, are the worst operated by the City of Toronto.
I saw one of them barely taking notes here and there. Another of my assumptions is that Pyper could not manage to actually see, observe, note, and object to the typical shabbiness, disorganization, and neglect of the Browsery.
Now that the obstructionist former head of the Browsery (“Can we wrap this up soon? I’ve got a meeting at 10:30”) has a new job, maybe the acting head of the Browsery could actually fix the problem. That would involve admitting it exists.
We’ve been through this before. Silence means approval.
Remember my endless complaints about the slapdash, slipshod, haphazard Browsery at the Reference Library? It’s the highest-profile real estate in the Canadian public-library system, I correctly maintain, and it’s a mess.
It’s gotten worse. Now the two highest-profile shelves in that highest-profile location have been turned into rummage sales, with one crappy book piled atop another. (By explicit order, a librarian told me.)
I am now at the point where I told a TPL manageress her defence of this nonsense is bullshit. It is.
The Browsery has too many Best Bets for the size of their display case. There is room left over inside the shelving units whose pristine tops the library refuses to use as display space. Either cull the collection (preferable; overflow books do not move) or shelve that overflow somewhere else.
The main display case, which still has no agreed-upon name, is unequivocally reserved for the newest and/or the most interesting and/or unique items of all descriptions. Old books people can look up for themselves. Seriously: The building is full of old crap and this display case is not to be used for whatever untrained staff feel like dumping there. Why is this not obvious?
The library has put a lot of effort at other branches – Cliffcrest, Gladstone – into developing face-out shelving, with good visual merchandising at the latter. Why the resistance here?
The Browsery is run by people with bad taste, no eye, no interest in customer experience, and, worst of all, no drive to improve. This issue needs to be taken out of their hands.
Every time I go there, and every time everybody else goes there, the TRL Browsery presents the same irrelevant oldies, B‑ and C-tier catalogue items, and home-renovation shows. Meanwhile, the rare new, interesting, or special DVDs are mixed into the dross. (I told you this already.)
This is no way to run a railroad.
Don’t believe me? Cue up your “There’s no accounting for taste” argument, look through my photo set, and try to make a serious case that the most valuable real estate in Canadian libraries does even an adequate job sorting, weeding, and presenting its DVDs.
Most of these discs are plunked onto trucks in the middle of the floor. They provide the misleading impression of a bounty of cinema. They’re mostly crap (and you know it!), and it’s the same crap every day. Most of these should be simply withdrawn, with a few of them sent to other branches (like oldies to Beaches). If you’re a regular there, you see the same lousy discs over and over again as you plod through the collection trying to find something remotely interesting. The wooden display case – with what should be high pride-of-place – holds the worst of the worst, many of which find their way face-front. It’s a disaster.
Basically the Browsery head agrees with me on every point listed above. But since I’m the one suggesting changes, no changes have been made – anywhere, at all. The Browsery head, and TPL in general, would prefer to keep making mistakes, to keep making life worse for library patrons, than to take my advice and improve.