Recessionary Britain— a vicious and lawless place of footpads and library users. On the way into work today I saw two pigeons fighting over a used tampon — you can’t make that stuff up. Everywhere tempers are frayed and frontline staff are getting it in the neck. Irate borrowers are blaming that bespectacled hedgehog in reference for the war in Iraq, Jimmy Saville, spiralling debt and the lack of laser scanners. What do you do? I had to square up to a punch drunk ex-boxer who accused me of placing bogus fines on his card. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. If only Amanda Wang could rescue me. Sweep me up in her silky arms (ever so lightly shaded with down but lady-down) like the scene at the end of An Officer and A Gentleman.
Under the guidance of Geoff Goodtimes, in between stuffing his face with custard creams earmarked for the homework club (not wrong to bribe children with sweets in a library), we have been forced to come up with less and less dignified events. First there was Broccoli Awareness Week or BAW linked to a five a day reading challenge. The idea is simple. Different books represent the different food groups and you need them all to maintain a healthy diet. Some good old Victorian carbohydrate stodge, a bit of non fiction roughage etc. The winner, Mustapha, was presented with some yellowing broccoli florets salvaged from the bins outside the organic grocers and seemed a little unimpressed.
Today we ran an Anglo-Saxon event for children set in the mythic village of Blyngmundham. ‘Keep it relevant,’ Geoff insisted while brushing crumbs off his tie. ‘Show today’s kids that all the greed for gold and jewellery, all those Essex louts in souped up Subarus and pseudo sports cars are only doing what King Redwald and his clan were doing in whatever fucking century it was. Larging it up the A12 with loads of BLING..’ They were the original Vulgarians.
Apparently you could hear their chains and signet rings clanking in the dark before they reached the next mead hall. The event went OK and there was only one visit to A and E after a rather over enthusiastic re-enactment of the battle of Malden. Of course the statistics, as usual, were made up.
However, it became clear that Anglo-Saxon summer wear is the way to go in dealing with difficult enquiries. No one’s going to flinch from a blow to the head in one of these hauberks. So Joe public is getting more aggro, we the librarians of the future need to tool up and tell them where we stand on those tired and well-worn excuses: ‘You didn’t send me a text reminder for my books… I thought DVDs were the same as books– a three week loan…’
The new branch library is shaping up nicely. The design is driven by a minimalist aesthetic c0mbining the elegance of old POW camps with a water filtration plant. Research shows that Brits welcome austerity. Who needs money and foreign holidays when you can be interred for free in a library? Where else can you stay as long as you like without having to buy anything! After all the drugs (YAWN) and exciting sex (those knee-tremblers in shadowy doorways) you can sit down against the cool stone and enjoy a stonking good read.