While browsing the News Shopper
a month ago I came across an article on how Bexley
libraries had lost 2,449 books in 2018. I checked Amazon for the book
replacement costs quoted and decided that Bexley Council should find a new
supplier, but saw nothing else of great interest and moved on.
A couple of weeks later the husband of a librarian wrote to me about the losses; he said it is all Bexley Council’s fault. That makes the losses far more interesting.
When I lived in Hampshire I was in the library most weekends and I remember that to get in an out you went along a narrow channel to have your book stamped or booked back in.
I confess that I have never once borrowed a book from a Bexley library although before the days of the internet I’d occasionally consult a reference book.
According to my correspondent my recollections are well out of date, these days you can wander in or out of libraries at will far removed from any librarian with a rubber stamp. I vaguely remember that the entrance to Bexleyheath’s Central Library used to pass by the staff desk but they went to the expense of moving the door to where a disabled ramp became necessary and the staff desk was neatly bypassed.
He goes on to say that in the old days books were often not lost but simply misfiled and this was exacerbated by computerisation. When the system was down books both in and out could go unrecorded. Borrowers - most of them honest I am sure - would return books with no record of them being out or worse still would claim when challenged that they had returned their book when the computer was down.
Almost needless to say, the experienced librarians forecast all these problems, but the management weren’t interested. They knew best.
The librarian’s husband goes on to say that “those who can talk the talk get management roles and move on before the chickens come home to roost”. Oh, don’t I know it and probably it happens everywhere, not least in Parliament.
Having spent my working life at just one company (apart from a few months after leaving school) by the time I left I had seen how we wasted time and money because of some whiz kid manager with a mouth far too many times. Having said that I recall single handedly pushing nine ‘crazy’ ideas through against the company tide to good and lasting effect. Thanks to the march of technology only two have any relevance today.
My correspondent’s advice is to post someone with a rubber stanmp near the door. An old fashioned idea so it’ll never happen.