Toronto Public Library Self-Checkout wishes you Happy Pride!

Rent-boy ads with RFID sticker plunked on top

So does the Bookmobile

Side of Bookmobile seen through narrow channel between red canopy and fence
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Items donated to Jones that have simply disappeared

  • Futurama, Seasons 5 and 6 (library’s sole known copies)

  • Uncommon three-disc set of Brotherhood of the Wolf

  • Men of a Certain Age

  • Dirt

  • Clapham Junction (I suspect it was simply discarded and never put on a shelf; it’s also not very good)

  • Life of Reilly (my copy; coming in officially after my blue-form submission)

Still present: Mark Leyner; Memento two-disc set (impossible to request specifically; unusual paper slipcase discarded); a pile of books and comic books sitting in Jones’s endless shelves, and full cart, of donated books and DVDs.

Meanwhile, Beaches is too good for donations and asks you to drop them off at the Goodwill.

Saaay… here’s a crazy idea

Dinging everybody a buck for holds not picked up was a cash grab disguised as a way to pay for all that manual handling of what turn out to be pointless holds. The $1 fine for overdue DVDs is of course pure spite.

But with those fees, the pikers, seatfillers, pols, and lobbyists on the Board have managed to scare off library patrons. (Report [PDF]: “[T]he introduction of the fine had a significant impact on usage.”) People are now afraid to place holds and circulation is down for the first time in living memory. People are even thinking twice about signing up for library cards – also previously unthinkable, but at least consistent with the degree of philistinism of a Board that actually goads librarians to go on strike.

But here’s a krazy konspiracy theory for you.

TPL went from staff being flooded with holds to dick around with (checkins and elastics and hold slips and all that business) to having too few holds to take care of. Staff (this means PSAs and LAs) went from not being able to keep up to sitting there twiddling their thumbs. No, not at district branches (NYCL barely gets all its holds on the shelves by 17:00), but at the tofu ’n’ potatoes of the library, neighbourhood branches.

And here’s Mike “Not a Lobbyist” Foderick asking basically every branch (including Todmorden and Swansea?) to lose 0.2 of a full-time-equivalent job so there will barely be enough staff around to help grannies figure out the RFID systems at Fort York and Scarborough Centre once they finally open. (He might not get what he wants. And that’s second-hand information – I found no reference to anything like that in budget documents, though I could easily have missed it.)

So you the taxpayer aren’t paying for more staff or more books or more anything because the budget keeps getting cut, but you the library user are handing over loonies to the library which it then uses to squeeze branches dry so that new branches can basically function.

To paraphrase The Royal Tenenbaums, immediately after I publish this idea TPL might actually make it happen.

Kooky fun fact

I have a 60-hold limit (yours is 50) that I regularly max out and have actually gotten shit for.

Minor update

Yeah, hi. I don’t know what I’m doing with the library these days, or what it’s doing with me.

  • I keep telling you the Library Board is made up of pikers, seatfillers, pols, and lobbyists as far as the eye can see. Now we know its chair is willing to lie about driving drunk, albeit below the legal limit.

    All of these are the same people who:

    • Engineered a library strike, then sent the savings from that strike back to the city.

    • Then got the library’s budget cut.

    • Set up an advertising program one of whose first users was an ambulance-chasing personal-injury law firm (which refused to comment on that designation).

    • Started dinging people a buck for holds and for overdue DVDs, with the result that people are afraid to place holds and circulation is actually down for the first time in living memory.

    Should we also discuss the fact that it is now materially impossible for the public to comment in person or in writing on any issue before the Board at an immediately upcoming meeting? (This is the same Board that can and will refuse a written request to address it. How do I know? I’m the one they refused, after sitting around looking baffled at the request in the first place.)

  • Next?

    I still am waging this perverse cold war (I wouldn’t capitalize it) with Collections Development. That department and other petites fonctionnaires continue to swoop in and turn the screws on frontline staff who make the capital error of trying to help me. There is now an entire list of such staff harassed and countermanded by middle management – here as elsewhere, the most picayune yet power-mad stratum.

    I can only imagine how incensed CDD must be when we (not I – we) return rejected blue forms with an attached statement that, in effect, the reason for rejection was bullshit. This is the department that buys the TV series Gavin & Stacey, whatever that is, but deems Friday Night Lights and Southland inadmissible under criteria that actually aren’t published.

  • Levels of fuck-you in blue forms:

    1. Rejected

    2. 1 TRL reference-only

    3. 1 TRL, 1 NYCL

    Honourable mention: 1 TRL, 1 your branch

  • I was going to save this up till I actually had them in hand, but what the hell. There are two saving graces in this ongoing blue-form Kafka manqué.

  • Did you know they’re tagging the entire visible collection of the Reference Library in preparation for TPL’s new plan to facilitate wholesale theft of that branch’s irreplaceable items? You’d be surprised who inside the organization thinks this is the stupidest idea ever, in no small part because it is. You’d be even more surprised to learn that apparently the entirety of TPL management save one does not know what staff-only RFID checkout is despite its being in use in a dozen branches. That obviously means they do not know that staff-only is the correct configuration for the TRL Browsery.

Why don’t I take a break?

The last time I did that I missed the deadline to apply to become a boardmember. Now, we know that the lying – and now drug‑ and murder-implicated – executive administration would have smothered the thing in its cradle like a Somali crack baby, but I’m not making the same mistake twice.

In the back of my mind is always the following question: Will this be the week the library serves me with a notice that I am banned from its premises? While that would be the nuclear option, it is the only step they haven’t taken and I don’t put it past them. You wouldn’t believe the shit these graspers have tried to pull behind the scenes.

Want to go out for a soyaccino sometime? You’re buying.

My guy left his branch after a lifetime’s lack of appreciation. He’s on a one-month trial separation at another branch. As he has been loyal to me all this time, through thick and thin, the least I can do is be loyal back. So, for now, a shitload of weird holds are all destined for a branch that isn’t Jones.