Dan Peon, with a greasy finger on the nuclear launch button

A couple of weeks ago at Metro Hall, I left the Bookmobile and took a picture of its back end:

Back end of Sprinter

Almost immediately the white or Hispanic staffmember (male, glasses, newsboy cap) came out of the van in a huff. “Excuse me?” I tried to ignore him. “Excuse me? That’s the last picture you’re gonna take,” he said.

At this point he was walking right up to me:

Man walks toward me menacingly

“Touch me and you go to jail,” I told him. I’m not gonna touch you, he said. You can’t take my picture, he said. He had a paranoid belief he was visible through the smoked windows (he wasn’t and I told him so). I told him I had every right to take the Bookmobile’s picture on public property. (Actually, I have more rights than that.)

He eventually walked away.

I called the Answerline on the spot and talked to Kelly Buehler, who works in mobile services. She took an incident report, a step I don’t trust because those are used to document (i.e., permanently tar) customers who get out of line with staff. She agreed to talk to staff about de-escalation. She started out claiming she would remind them of the policy on photography, but I got her to accept that what she should be saying is there are no rules about photographing the exterior of libraries (or Bookmobiles).

I later complained to Buehler’s boss Elizabeth Sutter, who thinks even less of me. (All I remember from the one meeting I was begrudgingly allowed to have with her at TRL was her line “Can we wrap this up soon? I’ve got something at 10:30.”)

I gave both these managers a week to fix the problem. They didn’t. So I complained to Jane Pyper.

And here we are today (2014.03.12), where quintessential petit fonctionnaire Dan Peon sends along, via Microsoft Word attachment, the following threatening letter (excerpted, but nothing important elided):

I am sorry you had such an unfortunate incident when you photographed the Bookmobile at the Metro Hall stop. As you state in your E-mail message, it is fine to photograph the exterior of branches and Bookmobiles. In response to this incident, there has been follow up with the Bookmobile staff to explain this kind of photography is allowed, and expectations about customer service have been reviewed.

However, I need to address your response to this incident. Specifically, I am referencing your online Twitter postin about one of the Bookmobile staff and the accompanying derogatory comments.

He means “This cunt from BK2.”

In an E-mail letter I sent to you dated January 2, 2013, I advised you to refrain from making derogatory comments about library staff, and further advised that when making comments about persons who work for the Library, or who use the Library, you must ensure the comments are appropriate and consistent with maintaining a welcoming environment that respects all persons and fosters inclusion and equality. […]

Further, it is stated, any behaviour that does not support a welcoming environment and/or violates the Rules of Conduct could result in suspension of Library privileges, exclusion from the Library and prosecution.

The language you have used in your Twitter posting describing the Bookmobile staff member is completely inappropriate and unwelcome, and you have not complied with our request to refrain from making derogatory comments about library staff.

If you have not done so already, you must remove immediately the Twitter post and photograph about the Bookmobile staff member. In addition, this letter is to warn you that your inappropriate and derogatory comments about the Bookmobile staff violate the Library’s Rules of Conduct, and that further disregard for the Rules of Conduct may result in exclusion from one or more branches (including the Bookmobile) of the Toronto Public Library and suspension of library privileges for up to one year, or other action as appropriate.

I want to reiterate that you are welcome and encouraged to continue to visit Toronto Public Library and use its many services, and that we recognize your right to make comments about the programs and services provided by the Library. However, these comments have to be consistent with the Library’s policies that maintain a welcoming environment that respects all persons.

In other words, these cunts at the Library, who fall all over themselves about freedom to read and host concerts by bands like Fucked Up, think they have authority over my free-speech rights outside their property. Toronto Public Library: Would you like hypocrisy with your self-checkout?

It’s as though these donkey-raping shit-eaters never watched, let alone learned the lessons of, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. (What would Brian Boitano Cathy Raine do?)

A TPL employee left his post to follow me onto city property and threaten me for taking a picture I had every right to take. Yes, I am going to swear at a city employee who threatened me. But what’s the real problem? When off the property, I curse like a sailor and I make managers nervous.

The Toronto Public Library wages a war of attrition against me. And they keep upping the ante: Issuing a threat, inducing me to stop using interlibrary loan, inducing me to stop submitting suggestion forms, pulling staff away from me when I’m having normal conversations with them (that’s happened twice), having a guy stalk over to me right there out in the open, then issuing even more threats. (Apparently involving “prosecution.” Under disclosure, can I get all the records TPL has on me?) It is the Library that is the aggressor.

I reminded Peon – again – of the Streisand Effect and warned him not to write cheques he can’t cash.

Scabrous means scabrous, you dumb cunts.


Apparently not being written about here

  1. Getting the abomination passing itself off as a DVD of Lost Highway replaced with something better than a PAL VHS tape

  2. Gay MLS researcher’s gay study into TPL’s service to the “LGBT” community, which he doesn’t want my help on despite decades of actual knowledge. (Response to this survey, whose two-line alphanumeric mixed-case URL you must type exactly from a printout, has been “phenomenal,” he tells me. “I don’t believe you,” I replied)

  3. Tagging TRL and the suicidal decision to implement self-checkout (in a branch that installed a flatscreen in front of its only stela and refuses to move it)

  4. I Lego NY

  5. Endemic nonresponsiveness

I dunno. Maybe when I feel like it.

At some level aren’t we all just running out the clock on TPL’s endlessly incompetent Board? Or maybe a few more of them will just resign and help us all out. Apart from Mr. Magoo, Kimberley Korinek resigned in December 2012. Did you even know that? (Via.) I guess Kevin McGuire is the new one and I’m sure he’d do as well on my quiz as Foderick would.

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.


Back dans la journée, my personal heroine Jan Wong wrote a column for the Globe (2001.11.21, A6) describing how Air Canada demanded she sign a letter promising never to bring sharp objects aboard a plane. (She indeed had done so, in the time-honoured tradition of sting operations that airport security always flunks.)

I have a note here from a few months ago reminding me of a dream I had (Martin Amis/Henry James: “Tell a dream, lose a reader”) in which a trim, officiously cheerful middle-aged British man met me in the classic featureless interrogation cell seen in TV cop shows. He spun around then slid over a sheet I was expected to sign admitting my transgressions against the Toronto Public Library and promising never to commit them again.

You and I both know what a “problem customer” is and that I ain’t one.