You’ll be pleased to read that I spent my lunch-break writing away at the Possible Fiction. Why yes, of course you’ve got to wait. Fiction is bloody difficult. It has to make sense, it has to amuse, the reader has to give a flying-fercrying about something (character, plot, ironic foreshadowing, ridiculousness of set-up, something). Whereas opinion pieces, well, I just point myself at a blank page and when the red mist clears, get the Editor to remove anything misspelt or Daily Mailish [And at least half the swearwords. Reed has a mouth like a sewer - Ed.].
While we’re waiting, I shall therefore do the easy thing and make some points that have been boiling within my breast for, ooh, most of my career in librarianship, really.
So, Dear Assorted Persons Who Ought To Know Better:
- Alphabetical order is not an amusing foible only some of your colleagues indulge in. If things are not filed in the correct order, we cannot find them, and those of us that give a monkeys about customer service find it mildly distressing to have to tell a reader we can’t find their request/library card/application form/complete works of Charlotte M. Yonge.
- Dear reader, seriously? Your email account is eating your library reminders, yes, very frustrating I’m sure, but seriously? You expect us to waive your weeks and weeks-worth of fines because you didn’t know when the books were due back without the email from the library? Despite the due-date stamped firmly on the label in neat black ink? Oh, you do expect us to waive them. Well, I shan’t, and what’s more, I think you’re a twerp, and further to that, the fact your email account went kablooey neatly proves exactly why the email reminders are a courtesy only and the lack of them is in no way proof that your books don’t need renewing.
- Commuters of London! I will buy a pair of pinking shears and cut through each and every one of your goddamn headphone wires if you don’t turn your MP3 players down right now. [Nothing to do with libraries, but still. Worth saying].
- I wish I didn’t have to shush your children, shush you, grab your toddler before he falls down the stairs (where the hell were you?), rescue your hat from the top of the stacks (he was hot. So he threw his hat in the air. I know), stop you climbing up the book-shelves (are you trying to kill yourself? There’s a kick-stool right there), dissuade you from looking at porn on the internet, dissuade you from playing WarShovel (or whateverthehell you call it) on the internet with the sound on, ask you to hold your domestic arguments elsewhere, or pick up dozens and dozens of books you have pulled off the shelves and dropped onto the floor when they turned out to be of no interest to you. This is a University, damn it, not a crèche.
- I will put away my data entry and pay full attention to you when you put away your iPhone and pay full attention to me. Deal?
- If you dump a pile of books in front of me with no comment, I will ask you whether you want them returned, renewed, or lent. I’m not sure why you find this offensive. I find your slamming things down in front of me and staring haughtily at the wall behind me offensive, for that matter. Do I mutter ‘oh for fuck’s sake’ under my breath? No, I do not. I merely think it.
- The next person to remark, however jovially, that it must be lovely, working in a library, sitting about reading books all day, will be summarily disembowelled and hung on the ramparts as a warning to others.
And that’s only the minor snits and irritations, folks! Aren’t you glad I didn’t get started on funding cuts, those lying twat-weasel Lib Dems and their ‘no tuition fees!’ u-turn, and the fact even some of the lecturers are bloody illiterate woo-merchants these days [This last remark does not in any way apply to any of the teaching staff at Reed's place of employment, who are all very literate and clever indeed (Reed, you arse, do you want to get fired?)].