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.