This morning starts with an interview at a library just around the corner from Horfield, in a different county. It gets off to a good start with a book shelving exercise, followed by a demonstration of Baby Rhyme Time (which the interviewers join in, in a very self-conscious way) but goes downhill from there, beginning with a question about why I want to work at that library (it’s safe, comfortable, staff are knowledgeable, parking… but I’m sure that’s not what they want to know!) and ending with what’s my favourite book (today I don’t have one, so I tell them about recent fiction and non-fiction that I’ve read, and why).

Off to work, to discover I’m working with 2 men today, R* and A*. It’s A*’s birthday (before the end of the day I manage to print out a birthday card in black and white and R* and I sign it. I wonder if he got any others). He gets on with the opening up procedures whilst R* and I get on with the weekly banking. I’m relieved he knows how to do it, prompted by my notes and my knowledge of where everything is.

He does offer to do ‘Baby bounce and rhyme’ for me but it’s better for me to do it — ON MY OWN! We have quite a bit group and I label them all up again — I can’t remember anyone’s name correctly from last week. I hand out the rattles and we start with ‘Say hello to everyone’ and I can’t quite remember the tune, but luckily the mums know it and help me. Somehow I manage to get through the next half hour (looking at the clock from quarter to as we start to run out of rhymes that I’m familiar with!) although I’m sure I don’t do the right hand signals (but I pick them up quickly from the mums) — but I do remember to do the Hokey Cokey and Grand Old Duke of York so we all get up and move around a bit! Afterwards, R* says it went well and the noise level wasn’t too loud, which is good of him.

The new printer refuses to print until the cartridge is replaced. People are still printing though. R* says he can’t find the key in the key box for the ‘printer cupboard’ although A* finds it later, finds a Youtube video on how to replace the cartridge and does so, and then hundreds of pages come out — including several of scantily-clad ladies! Fortunately the lady who is off to a convent in Freiburg gets all her documents before the end of the day.

I have meanwhile sent an email to the people in the council who supply cartridges for other printers as I’ve been told these new printers send a message wirelessly when new cartridges are required. In the end I feel I should have stood back and left it not printing, as it didn’t seem to bother R*, and now I’ll look a bit incompetent perhaps! (For sending a message without checking for the printer cupboard key myself.)

The reason it takes A* so long to sort out the printer cartridge is that I’ve passed on a (bag) lady in a tam-o-shanter who has started by asking me if she can buy a book she’s borrowed (called ‘Laurie Driver’ — she says her father would enjoy this book as he was one) and I look it up on Amazon and suggest she comes in with a debit card and we’ll help her buy it (as I can’t find any phone numbers for second hand copies, which would be easier for her). That’s when she says she wants to transfer her paper-based CV to electronic format s she can upload it to her Universal Jobmatch. Quite frankly I could type it up in 5 minutes! But I’ve been having a conversation with A* about doing just this, so he seems the right person to pass her on to! I apologise later, and he says ‘Revenge will be sweet’.

I sign up 4 new members while A*’s busy with this ‘lady’ and I’m not sure what R* is doing, but he’s not facing the customers whilst he looks at something on the pc. One of the new members was banned from another of our libraries 4 years ago, when she was 20, for defaulting on a book, although when I ask if she’s ever been a member, she denies it. She doesn’t realise all the libraries are linked up. Anyway, 4 years is a long time ago and should she be banned for life for something she did when she was young? I manage to sign her up anew.

A woman with 2 children are my next customers. She has her driving licence as ID, but it’s her old address. I sign her up anyway using the old address and ask her to bring in something showing her name and new address next time she comes in — which she will do, because she and the children take out several books. I show them how to use the self-service machine, but there’s a problem with one of the books, and when I issue it at the desk, it comes up as ‘unknown’ so I have to make a temporary record of it. (I later find another book, exactly the same, in the kinder boxes.) I ask R* about it and he says sometimes books just drop off the system.

Just after this, a library assistant from another library rings to ask me to do a check of the kinder boxes for a book, as we are the only library that has it, although we have marked it ‘missing’ from the Wants list. I search, but still don’t find it, so leave a message on the diary for the Tuesday people to use their fresh eyes and see if they can find it.

A man (I think a Somalian) comes in wearing what I’d call a ‘safari suit’ with several children, including some girls with their heads covered. He asks for 10 word searches. I look in the colouring in folder and it’s empty (so I leave a note for the Tuesday people to print out some more) so I print out some for him — I only manage 5 because I’m still looking for the book mentioned above.

At the end of the day, I’m feeling quite frazzled. I must remember to take a step back — I’m only agency staff, not permanent, haven’t been there that long, and am not a replacement for a supervisor, and I must remember that!

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