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Friday, 16 May 2014

Blaming hard pushed staff is not the answer

Further to the letter that appeared in last week's Croydon Guardian, an online version has appeared. This expands on the text in the printed version, adding,
"All the students I met that were being told off for sitting at empty tables were exceedingly polite to the aggressive staff.  A student sat on the floor, which they were told off for, joked and I quote: "I'm on the library's most wanted list!". 
I urge other students to stand up against the staff, and to write in to your local papers and complain to the library so that we stand together against this unjust dictatorship. We may be young and studious but we deserve to study, and to be heard, as soon we will be the generation in charge."
This puts an extremely different slant on the letter.

Yes, the study pass system does not work. It wastes a great deal of time for both staff and for library users. Those applying need to do so daily and are required to log out each day.

Yes, the colour-coding of tables is a nonsense, creating an unwelcoming environment for users and a headache for staff who it appears must enforce Carillion dictat.
Colour coding - No expense spared on this exercise.

Do NOT, under any circumstances, use this table to
acquire knowledge or to better yourself. Knowledge is over-rated.
Love Carillion x

But the library user who wrote this letter needs to speak with other users of Croydon Central Library, as we have.

Library users hate the system.  They do not understand what purpose it serves BUT they do not blame the staff for this. 

When we visited last week there was not one member of staff on duty in the Children's Library, nor on another floor. That's two out of three floors/library areas we visited, unstaffed.

Any user needing assistance in these areas was directed to the Reception desk on the ground floor, manned by just two members of staff, dealing with a queue of users who were borrowing, returning, making enquiries and reservations and applying for or returning their study passes.

And who carries out these extra Reception desk duties? Not more but far fewer staff than before; just two members of staff on the day we visited.  And service with a smile was what we received.

The library users we spoke with were aware of the deterioration in the service but often unaware of the reason behind it.  They were acutely aware of the lack of staff and the bizarre systems put in place BUT not one that we spoke with placed the blame on the staff.

You can't blame the staff. If they could speak out I bet they'd say that they are as unhappy about the situation as the library users are.

Staff in Croydon libraries have done an admirable job, delivering the level of service they do, under intolerable conditions.

Croydon library users know it and stand firm in their support for the staff - the few staff who remain, that is.

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