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.


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.

Jane. Browsing

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.

  1. People paw through DVDs on trucks and on one wooden shelf
  2. Picked-over magazine stand, half of whose racks are open
  3. Best Bets piled on top of each other on wooden stand

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.

The Browsery rummage sale

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.)

Books on shelf piled face-up
Books on Best Bets shelf piled face-up

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.